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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD|Change
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on April 5, 2004
Whenever I read reviews, I am made aware we are all different and guitar freaks ( of which I am undoubtedly one ) the world over like different things. Thank God.
But I would wager there is not a single ( open minded ) Guitar freak out there who would not sit back and be humbled by the brilliance of this album, nor one that does not find the outstanding beauty and emotion in this music. I have only just received my copy from Amazon, and I dont think since "Casino" by Al Di Meola there has been an album that has hit my emotions in the same way.
Perfect acoustic guitar playing and( perhaps more importantly ) song writing. Thank you Tommy Emmanuel ... someome below said it ... a masterpiece. Expect more business from me pretty soon !
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on March 23, 2003
"Only" is Australian jazz-rock guitarist Tommy Emmanuel and only Tommy Emmanuel. Acoustic guitar. No accompaniment. No overdubs. But he proves it's all he needs to provide a truly mesmerizing, delightful listening experience. Tommy plays in a finger-picking style which allows him to play the bass line, the melody and some harmony all at once, so there is no shortage of action during any of this CD's 14 tracks. It often sounds as though there are at least two guitars playing!
The general tone of the CD is cheerful and uplifting, with a variety to the rhythm and tempo that keeps my attention from drifting. There are a couple of more introspective passages, such as "Questions" and the truly beautiful "The Robin" with its fair sampling of Spanish and classical guitar. There are also some more raucous songs thrown in for good measure, such as the bluegrass-tinged "Biskie," "Train to Dusseldorf" and the jazzy "Ol' Brother Hubbard." Among the brighter moments is "Mombassa" which was written while on a trip to Africa where the Emmanuel family met the young boy they had been sponsoring for years. It's a happy, knockin' around kind of song that will cheer you up no matter your mood. All of these tunes sound lyrical enough to conjure up images of tales being told.
I have become an early riser in recent years, and Tommy Emmanuel's "Only" has become my constant companion at the break of day.
Tommy spends a lot of time barnstorming the globe, usually in solo acoustic shows filled with music of the style presented here. Don't pass up an opportunity to see him pick, pluck, strum, brush and beat on his guitar. It's unforgettable! To boot, he's a very personable fellow, making the audience feel like he's playing for his friends in his living room.
I originally wrote this review after hearing the Australian release, and the Favored Nations release is identical. Highly recommended.
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on October 23, 2002
No one expresses oneself as honestly or as gracefully as Tommy Emmanuel on acoustic guitar. This is his first solo acoustic CD, and if you are looking for one CD by Tommy, this is the one to get. As Tommy has said, speed is not necessarily good -- indeed a monkey can be trained to play guitar fast. It is much more difficult to play slowly with expression and passion, and this album is filled with those qualities. This album is the closest yet to convey Tommy's true artistry -- something that cannot be completely experienced outside of a live concert. Some very talented people have attempted to capture Tommy's technique in the form of tablature and verbal instruction, but even they are left with the question, "How does he DO that!?!" The answer is, it is a gift, and we are the recipients. End of discussion.
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on March 23, 2003
I had the pleasure of hearing Tommy live with the Prarie Home Companion Show on NPR in Nashville recently, I was so moved by the best guitar picking I have heard in years I rushed to purchase this CD containing the 2 tracks played at the show-simply AWESOME.
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on December 3, 2002
Every second of this CD is pleasing, impressive, or beautiful. This is a virtuoso musician who plays with feeling. The inspiration is palpable. A must-have recording for anyone who loves guitar and anyone else who loves music.
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on October 4, 2003
I discovered Tommy Emmanuel at an outdoor concert in 2002. I had the pleasure of seeing him again at the same venue in 2003, by which time I was an enraptured fan. In my experience, Emmanuel's "Only" is as good as solo acoustic guitar gets. "Only" is an incredible tapestry of music, with heartfelt, melodic songs (all written by Emmanuel). If you appreciate good music, do yourself a favor and buy this CD. Better yet, see Emmanuel in concert and try not to become a fan. I dare you...
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on December 25, 2003
This album is simply an amazing work of art. The music is heartfelt and very, very lyrical. After listening to the first two cuts and then being hit by Mombassa, I realized that this is something unlike any other I have heared. Images are painted and stories are told through Tommy's beautiful songs -- without a single word spoken. The songs manage to sound joyous with a hint of an underlying sense of sadness in them. Tommy doesnt feel any compelling need to show how much of an accomplished player he is (and he is!) There are no extranneous notes here. Every single note is in its right place and for the right reason and played at the right time. I wish there were more players like that. For now, I'll just wait eagerly for TE's next release!
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on March 3, 2004
This CD is a memorial to the versatility of an under-used instrument. Instead of hiding little talent and less skill behind a loud reverb, Emmanuel invites listeners to experience the guitar at its best. From gleeful "Timberlake Road" to jazzy "Biskie," from sublime "Questions" to exhilarating "Train to Dusseldorf," the master guitarist leads us on a musical epiphany. No lyrics, no bass, neither percussion nor brass are needed. The purity of these melodies and harmonies touches the soul. The spirit soars and dives with the rifts. Bottom line: Emmanuel demonstrates how much music the guitar can make -- not how much noise.
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on August 28, 2000
For Fathers Day I took my dad to hear Tommy Emmanual in Williamsburg VA while he was touring the US. He played opposite Stephen Bennett, a very fine guitarist. Before the show I spoke to Steve who asked me if I'd ever heard Tommy. I had not only never heard him, I said, but I'd never heard OF him. Steve said "Hang on, you'll never forget him." Tommy, an Australian megatalent, is well known in his own county, but rather obscure in the US because of some very conservative marketing of his 11 CDs. He was totally awesome. My dad, an old guitar player and lover of guitar for most of his 79 years said he now believed he had heard one of the great ones. He felt he was in guitar heaven. We both agreed that in many respects Tommy was like Doyle Dykes, a Nashville wonder who tours as a hired gun for Taylor guitars. I bought the album, "Only" directly at the concert. When I buy an album I usually listen to it until I feel every note in my soul. I want to feel what the musician is saying. I have been listening to this album nearly everyday for a couple of months. I go to sleep by it, I make love by it. I had to listen to it a couple of times before I was hooked. It's straight accoustic guitar without any accompaniment. Tommy's Maten guitar has a very distinctive sound that is evident with the opening notes of "Those Who Wait". The first song to absolutely captivate me was "Questions" immediately followed by "Padre" which almost seems like an extention of "Questions". Both songs are slow, evocative, very sensitive, and beautiful. If you listen carefully to "Padre" you'll hear a heavy sigh by Tommy that adds a sensual dimension to the piece that extends beyond mere sound. After all, music appeals to our emotions and our intellect. Tommy does it all. "Luttrell" is a fingerpicking masterpiece ala Merle Travis/Chet Atkins shaped by Tommy's own songwriting genius. It cannot be listened to without moving yourself in some fashion. "Luttrell" is followed by "Since We Met", another beautiful melody that emphasizes Tommy's songwriting skills and talent for keeping the medody in his songs, but still adorned by rhythmic flourishes. The album just gets better with nearly each song. Tommy showcases technique, imagination, and great sound to provide untiring satisfaction. The songs are totally his, but are unique. His us of musical textures and orchestration (if you can apply that to a solo instrument) are completely fascinating. He finishes the album with some great blues runs in "Ol Brother Hubbard". This album makes you wonder why we fawn over lesser talents and haven't heard of this great guitarist and musician.
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on November 18, 2002
Tommy has hit the mark with this album. This is a great display of his talent. It has a variety of tempos and styles and is exciting to listen to.
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