Tommy Emmanuel, C.G.P.
Little by Little
Favored Nations

From the opening notes of “Halfway Home,” Tommy Emmanuel bowls you over with his amazing technique and his ability to craft a melody that sticks in your head.Little by Littleis an ambitious double album full of everything from delicate Beatles-inspired fingerpicking to the barn-burning instrumentals that have become a cornerstone of his live shows. On a masterful arrangement of Carole King’s “Tapestry,” Doyle Dykes joins Emmanuel for an inspired version of the ’70s classic. Relying on his arsenal of Maton, Collings, Larrivee, and Gibson guitars, Emmanuel knows how to pick just the right axe for the tune. For the vocal version of the jazz standard “Moon River,” he chooses a vintage Gretsch Synchromatic to cop an old-school jazz vibe. Between the two discs there are some common threads. The title track, “Haba Na Haba” (Swahili for “Little by Little”) is given an instrumental treatment on the first disc while the second disc adds Pam Rose and Victor Wooten for a funky vocal version. The tracks that stand out most are the solo pieces where Emmanuel lets his musical spirit flow freely. “Mountains of Illinois,” written by fellow Nashville super-picker Pat Bergeson, is a bluesy ballad that is equal parts Chet Atkins and Joe Pass. With so many moving parts on this album, from different guests to genres, Emmanuel has created one of the most accessible albums of his career, one that’s sure to inspire other guitarists to drop the pick more often.