Tommy Emmanuel

Center Stage

Emmanuel performs at Laxson Auditorium Sept. 19.

Tommy Emmanuel, the charismatic and dexterous “Certified Guitar Player” (a title bestowed on him by Chet Atkins) has the uncanny ability to hold a crowd spellbound. And he does just that on his new live double-CD, hatched from three shows recorded at the Sierra Nevada Big Room in October 2007. It’s no small feat for a mostly instrumental package, with a masterful array of folk, blues, classical, pop and indigenous music. Here the 53-year-old Nashville resident (he hails from near Sydney), who possesses the fastest fingers Down Under, or anywhere else, is at his nimble-fingered best. Fourteen originals appear here, including the epic performance piece, “Initiation,” which transcends any preconceived notions about the limitations of the guitar. The album also features covers including an off-the-hook, four-song Beatles medley. Big Room GM and accomplished harmonica player Bob Littell accompanies Emmanuel on three classics including “Georgia On My Mind,” one of the shiniest gems on the album. There is also a matching DVD (to be released Oct. 15), a PBS pledge-drive show (8 p.m. Sept. 6 on KIXE/Channel 9) and an instructional DVD.