Guitarist Tommy Emmanuel Receives Royal Honor

Tommy Emmanuel was honored as a Queen's Member of the Order of Australia on July 26 in Washington, DC. The ceremony took place at the residence of the Australian Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency the Honorable Kim Beazley.

"I was humbled and honored to be awarded with the Order of Australia," said Emmanuel. "To be so recognized by my country for making music and for serving the young people of Australia is incredibly wonderful and deeply fulfilling."

The prestigious Order of Australia Award, established in 1975, is bestowed on Australian citizens for meritorious service in a particular area or field of activity. Emmanuel is cited for, "service to the music and entertainment industries as a guitarist, and to the community as a supporter of Kids Under Cover." Kids Under Cover is an Australian charitable organization working to build homes and provide scholarships for homeless and at risk young people.

The announcement of Emmanuel's Order of Australia medal was made June 14. Typically, investitures take place at various times in the recipient's state of residency or, as in Emmanuel's case, overseas by an Australian Ambassador. As Emmanuel's 2010 U.S. tour included a stop in Washington, DC, it presented an ideal opportunity to have Beazley preside over the investiture.

Emmanuel began playing guitar at age four, and by age six was a part of his family's professional band. He has long been one of Australia's most respected and best-loved musicians, and his award-winning career now spans five decades and multiple genres including jazz, rock, blues, and country. He is known for his distinctive "finger style" playing, using all ten fingers. He was first inspired to try "fingerpicker" technique after hearing his hero, Chet Atkins, play in the early 1960s. Atkins became a mentor to Emmanuel after they met in the '80s. In 1996, a dream came true for him when they jointly recorded the album The Day The Finger Pickers Took Over The World, for which Emmanuel received his first of two GRAMMY nominations.

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