by Robert Bell
7:30 p.m. University of Central Arkansas. $50.
If you'd like to hear a guy play acoustic guitar faster than you'd ever think was possible by a human being, look no further than Tommy Emmanuel. The Australian virtuoso is one of only five in the world to be designated as a "Certified Guitar Player" by the late, great Chet Atkins. (The others in this tiny fraternity are John Knowles, Steve Wariner, the late Jerry Reed and Atkins himself.)
In "Nashville Cats," The Lovin' Spoonful's ode to the studio bad-asses of Music City, John Sebastian estimated "there's 1,352 guitar pickers in Nashville / And they can pick more notes than the number of ants on a Tennessee ant hill." Well from the sound of it, Emmanuel can play more notes than the number of ants on all the ant hills in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana combined.
At 50 bones, this concert isn't for the light of wallet, but hell, by now, there are probably at least 1,500 pickers in Nashville. There are only two other Certified Guitar Players still with us.