Finger-pickers are Taking Over the World
I grabbed my 14 yo by the hand, shoved him in the car, and then headed for Elburn, Illinois at break-neck speed. Eli complained the whole way. Then, along about the third song, and while the entire crowd stood and cheered, I glanced over at him. "I got goose-bumps, dad," Was all he said.
Hot damn, he was hooked!
After that, we stood in line for auties. The boy near embarrassed me saying, "I want Tommy to sign this," And he held up his ticket stub for the long line of fans to see. "Backwards!" Lord have mercy. Then busy Tommy Emmanuel stopped what he was doing and looked up at him like the boy was indeed nuts, until I leaned over and confided, "He's a musician too." Well, TE just grinned at that info. Then he sat and struggled his way through, and produced what I believe to be the only backward signature on the planet of the Awesome Aussie.
We’ve not maintained contact since his Elburn concert, but Tommy’s acts of generosity still live and thrive here. Eli finished a year of baritone before switching to his now-favorite instrument, the violin. I never once pushed him to guitar. Let him follow his heart, I say. I did warn him recently about his voice, however, and his screaming the words, but the boy is young yet.
What gets me is his friends. They stop by to practice down in the basement. One drags in a bass and amp. One carries a set of sticks. Dreadlocks, spiked hair and plenty of “tude” accompanies their dream. Band names change with each and every set.
But first, they have to pass by the Yamaha SA 2100 on the way downstairs. It rests in its stand, always ready to go.
“Play us a song, Mr. Tippins. And do that one by Tommy.”
And then they stand and marvel as a drop-D chime begins Those Who Wait. They gawk at Chet’s version of Windy and Warm. And they stand and listen to stories of that night, and of a young boy in Melbourne getting his first guitar with no amp, and of an impromptu chest-of-drawers amplifier.
And they grin hungrily as they trudge on down the stairs.
God bless ya, mate. You helped me to bridge the gap, and I so appreciate that.