Tommy Emmanuel Coming to Stiefel Theatre

Tommy Emmanuel Coming to Stiefel Theatre
photos from press release

The Stiefel Theatre in Salina is thrilled to announce Tommy Emmanuel, CGP with special guests Rob Ickes + Trey Hensley on February 21, 2024 at 7:30 pm.

Tickets start at $29 and go on sale Friday, August 25 at noon. They can be purchased in person at the Stiefel Theatre Box Office, online, or by called 1-785-827-1998.

“He’s one of the best guitar players I’ve ever seen.” --Chet Atkins

“There's the top guitarists in the world, and then there’s Tommy!” --Barry Gibb

“If you like guitar playing, it simply doesn’t get any better than Tommy.” --Jason Isbell

“I’ve never met anyone in all my years as a musician who knows more about the guitar, how it works and how to play it to within an inch of it’s life. People always say he is “Amazing!”, and he really is. Inside he is as humble as he is amazing and that is what I love about him.” –Jerry Douglas

TOMMY EMMANUEL The real-time exuberance Tommy Emmanuel brings to every note of every song he plays is palpable and infectious. His fans are in love with his unbound talent as a guitarist of multitudes, his ability to play three parts at once, always with pure heart and real soul. He is a true virtuoso. But he seems as delighted always with the magic of the music as the audience, if not more, and his joy illuminates everything.

It’s one thing to play these multi-dimensional arrangements flawlessly on an acoustic guitar. But to do it with that smile of the ages, that evidence of authentic, unbridled delight, is an irresistibly infectious invitation to feel his music as deeply as he does. “The joy, " he says, “is there always because I’m chasing it through music. Seeing the surprise in peoples’ eyes is worth living and working for... I can’t help but play to the people with all my heart, which is overflowing with joy of being in that moment that I’ve worked all my life for. And here it is!”

That authentic exuberance Tommy brings to every show and every record is especially powerful, given the profound deficit of real joy in so many lives. Tommy’s happiness, like his music, is pure and expressed in real-time. Nothing is phony. It’s a quality that does reach far beyond any one language, and it’s instantly understood by all his fellow humans. It’s the reason he smiles so much while playing, and why his audience does as well. As many have said, it’s hard not to be happy at his shows. Because his joy, and the timeless river of inspiration, which is the source, is universally recognized. And it feels good.

In 2018, Tommy made the great album, Accomplice One, a series of duets with musicians great and varied, and all at his level. It’s a concept that worked, as the range of artists reflected Tommy’s expansive love of all kinds of music, including Rodney Crowell, Mark Knopfler, Amanda Shires, Jason Isbell, Jerry Douglas, Jake Shimabukuro and more. Each of his accomplices seemed as inspired by his energy and passion as much as Tommy was by theirs, and he played with effortless grace.

Now comes the long-awaited sequel, Accomplice Two. It shares the same exuberance, diversity, and sense of adventure as the first album, with a great range of artists. This album features rock legends Michael McDonald, Jorma Kaukonen, and Little Feat; bluegrass superstars such as Billy Strings, The Del McCoury Band, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Sierra Hull, and David Grisman; country icons such as Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jamey Johnson, and Raul Malo; and guitar heavyweights like Yasmin Williams, Larry Campbell, and Richard Smith. The first single “White Freight Liner Blues” is out now and features the Grammy award winner and claw hammer guitarist, Molly Tuttle.

Tommy also has a new television special called Accomplice LIVE! which begins airing on PBS in March of 2023. This special features some of Tommy’s best-known songs and duets with his accomplices such as Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Sierra Hull, Yasmin Williams, and many others.

Tommy was born in 1955 in Muswellbrook, New South Wales Australia, and started playing the guitar at age four. In his twenties, he was the most sought-after performer and session musician in Sydney. By age 30, he was burning on electric guitar with several rock bands in stadiums across Europe. He could have gone on to live the rock star life. Yet, he yearned for something purer and closer to his heart. Casting off the reliable rock band engine of monstrous sonics blasting, Tommy went acoustic.

The inspiration for Tommy’s transformation was his hero, Chet Atkins, who represented the purity of one man, one guitar, and unlimited passionate for serving the song. Eventually Tommy met his hero and started a lifelong friendship which shaped Tommy’s music forever. Chet welcomed Tommy into guitarist knighthood by bestowing upon him the coveted title of CGP (Certified Guitar Player), an honor awarded only to four other humans ever, and they recorded an album together, The Day Finger Pickers Took Over the World. Receiving the love and esteem of Chet lifted Tommy into a different realm. Because, as Chet recognized instantly and told the world, musicians like this don’t come along that often; pay attention to this man. And people have paid attention from sold out shows all over the world to multiple Grammy nominations, ARIA Awards, IBMA Awards, and countless “Best Acoustic Guitarist” wins in numerous music magazine readers polls…. the world is taking notice. For more information:


"Two musical phenoms" -NPR

"Bluegrass aces...Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley shred..." -Rolling Stone

"(Rob and Trey are an) acoustic firestorm (who) are changing the rules" -Vintage Guitar

"Two of the finest musicians playing today" -No Depression

Take a 15-time IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Dobro Player of the Year and a Tennessee-born guitar prodigy called “Nashville's hottest young player” by Acoustic Guitar magazine, and you have Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley, a GRAMMY®-nominated powerhouse acoustic duo that has electrified the acoustic music scene around the world. Acoustic Guitar describes their sound as "steel-string bluegrass with all the intensity of rock 'n' roll."

Known for their white-hot picking and world class musicianship as six-string virtuosos, as well as their soulful stone country vocals, Ickes and Hensley cleverly and uniquely meld bluegrass, country, blues, rock, jamgrass, and string band music of all kinds to create a signature blend of music that defies restrictions of genre (as heard on their new record, Living In A Song, released on February 10, 2023).  With Living In A Song, Ickes and Hensley made a conscious effort to spotlight their songwriting chops by collaborating with and paying homage to some of Nashville's finest songwriters. They made a conscious decision to lean the music in a classic country direction, with some elements of Americana and bluegrass thrown in for good measure.

As a duo, Ickes and Hensley have shared the stage or collaborated with Tommy Emmanuel, Taj Mahal, Vince Gill, David Grisman, Jorma Kaukonen, Hot Tuna, Marty Stuart, and Steve Wariner, among many others.

Ickes, the most decorated musician in IBMA Awards history, grew up in California's Bay Area.  A former founding member of bluegrass "supergroup" Blue Highway and highly sought-after Dobro master, Ickes has graced the recordings and concerts of artists such as Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Earl Scruggs, Merle Haggard, Alison Krauss, Tony Rice and several others.

Hensley, a native of Jonesborough, Tennessee, earned IBMA Guitar Player of the Year nominations in 2020, 2021, and 2022.  He made his Grand Ole Opry debut at the age of 11 (thanks to an invite from Marty Stuart with Earl Scruggs).  Hensley's musical influences are as far-ranging as The Allman Brothers Band, Ray Charles, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and he has had the opportunity to perform with the likes of Johnny Cash, Peter Frampton, and Old Crow Medicine Show, among many others.

All four of the Compass Records albums released by Ickes and Hensley have received widespread acclaim, including their debut Before The Sun Goes Down, which garnered a GRAMMY® nomination, The Country Blues, and World Full Of Blues, produced by GRAMMY®-winning producer Brent Maher (The Judds, Kenny Rogers, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson), which features collaborations with Vince Gill and Taj Mahal. The new Ickes & Hensley record, Living In A Song (once again produced by Maher), highlights the duo's songwriting chops like never before and is receiving glowing reviews.  Among notable side projects, Ickes and Hensley teamed with guitar master Tommy Emmanuel for a very special EP, Tommy Emmanuel - Accomplice Series Vol. I With Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley (released at Tommy's invite via his label, CGP Sounds) to critical acclaim. Ickes and Hensley have also recorded several songs with the legendary Taj Mahal, and Taj invited them to go on tour and be part of his first-ever Taj Mahal Sextet.

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