By Karen TongFriday 18 Nov 2011
“My father gave me my first watch for Christmas,” Tommy Emmanuel says as he recalls Christmas as an eight-year-old boy.
“There were a few presents and my mother cooking whatever was around,” Emmanuel says, “we were pretty poor when we were young.”
Now he celebrates Christmas with his own children and there’s always a big, traditional Christmas feast involved.
“We have a turkey, nice dessert, a nice dessert and everything, a nice Christmas tree and lots of lights,” Emmanuel describes.
Watch Video – Tommy Emmanuel chats to Hope 103.2 about All I Want For Christmas
This year, Australia’s most celebrated guitarist – he recently received a Lifetime Fellowship Award from the Australian Institute of Music – released his first-ever Christmas album, which Emmanuel says has been requested by his fans over the last 20 years.
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Over the North American summer, Emmanuel called on his friend and fellow certified guitar player, John Knowles, to create All I Want for Christmas.
“It was kind of strange making Christmas music in the hottest time of the year,” Emmanuel says, “so what we did was we dressed the studio up in Christmas decorations, turned the air-conditioning on and got a real cosy Christmas atmosphere in there.”
His album is full of classic Christmas carols, from the fun tunes of Jingle Bells and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town to the more mellow sounds of White Christmas and Emmanuel’s favourite Silent Night, as well as two original songs.
“I’d always wanted to write a traditional sounding Christmas carol,” Emmanuel says. Borrowing The First Noel’s melody and adding his own flavour to it, Emmanuel wrote One Christmas Night.
“I just couldn’t allow myself to make a Christmas album without contributing something from my heart, my gift,” Emmanuel says.
Watch Tommy Emmanuel play a medley including White Christmas
His album ends with a traditional hymn How Great Thou Art, and Emmanuel explains that the song conveys the meaning and message of Christmas.
“It was my way of saying that God’s plan was perfect.”
- Update: See Tommy Emmanuel’s 2016 Christmas Album, Christmas Memories