This past week was astonishing, and frankly I still may be in a state of paralysis. Disturbing images of January 6th will be etched into my memory similar to the IRA bombings in the 90's; Londoners covered in blood and marked with silvers of glass. The unbelievable scenes of jumbo jets plowing into iconic, NYC buildings on 9/11 as office workers jumped from 60+ story windows and most personally the haunting visuals of a discarded shoe, open curtains, pool of vomit resulting from the repercussions of suicide. These experiences witnessed or lived cause horror and fear which can easily spiral out of control if not managed correctly. I took a breath, immersing myself in Tommy Emmanuel's acoustic, instrumental singles which will be released digitally via his “Imagine” EP on January 15. It was almost as if the universe knew I needed Emmanuel’s gentle, peace inciting music. His songs enabled me to coral my anxiety, briefly escaping the all-encompassing terror instigated by democracy’s erosion. That calming reaction, generated entirely from Emmanuel’s works, is truly powerful and was gratefully received.
Emmanuel is a respected artist originally from Australia. His record includes John Lennon’s famous track, “Imagine” and two of Emmanuel’s originals, “Since We Met” and “I’ve Always Thought of You.” He released his rendition of Lennon’s iconic tune centered around harmony where humanity isn’t confined by division on October 9, 2020 coinciding with what would have been the musician and activist’s 80th birthday. (Coincidentally also my dead ex’s.) The video illustrates Emmanuel’s intensity and passion for Lennon’s spectacular song. Also, on display is the deep emotion and sincerity he puts into his craft. Emmanuel is connected to his guitar. Although a little battered from continued play his love and command of the instrument is apparent. The track is executed with such effortlessness, yet Emmanuel’s expertise is undeniable. Without the lyrics I drift into a contemplative, tranquil state which is desperately needed. I am soothed by Emmanuel’s re-arrangements that dance up and down the fretboards. “Since We Met” was released January 8th. The video was recorded last March in the back of Emmanuel’s tour bus. His song introduction, providing a brief history of its origin is compelling with Emmanuel’s glee shining through. There is sweetness and raw authenticity in the track. It radiates serenity and true romance. Again, I am ushered away into a reverie. “I’ve Always Thought of You” will be shared to correspond with the mid-month release though it was included in his 1999 record, “Only.”
I don’t think the chaos that ensued last week is over. Although I wish this wasn’t my perspective or our impending reality, Emmanuel’s album is being circulated at the opportune time. We all need music that provides an emblem of hope, a sense of stability and demonstrates utter creative genius to prove that the once unthinkable betrayals threatening to topple our core values can be overcome. Take the time to just “Imagine.”