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Virtuoso guitarist Tommy Emmanuel plays sold-out show in Bakersfield

Australian guitarist, Tommy Emmanuel, plays to a sold-out crowd at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame in Bakersfield, Calif., on May 4, 2016. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Guitarist Tommy Emmanuel made his Bakersfield debut Tuesday night, playing two sold-out shows at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame.

While it was Emmanuel's first time in Bakersfield, he said he's been a lifelong fan of the "Bakersfield Sound."

"My heroes when I was a kid were Buck (Owens) and Merle (Haggard)" he said, adding, "Haggard, still to this day, is my favorite country singer, by a long way."

The shows were part of the Guitar Masters concert series, organized by Rick Kreiser.

"I have been trying to bring Tommy to Bakersfield for four years," Kreiser said of the virtuoso musician.

Emmanuel was originally scheduled to play one show on Wednesday, but it sold out within two hours so Kreiser said he added a second show on Tuesday.

That show also sold out.

Emmanuel is known for his distinctive and entertaining "one-man-band" style of guitar playing.

"I try to come up with a totally self-contained style that will work without me having to have other musicians," he said.

That is, he is able to play the bass line, rhythm guitar and melody all at once on his guitar, even adding in percussion, as well.

"It's a singer and a band, but it's all contained within a little wooden box with wires," he explained.

The Australian musician's skillful and mesmerizing performances have garnered him world-renown, playing to large crowds around the globe. He joked, the Bakersfield Hall of Fame, which only seats 250 people, is not a normal venue for him.

"This is the smallest place I've played in probably 25 years. But it's wonderful. I love it," he said.

Though, he added, it doesn't really matter where he plays, as long as he keeps getting to do it.

"I can't imagine doing anything else other than playing music for people, it's the best life know."

For more info on Tommy Emmanuel, check out his website.

To learn more about the Guitar Masters concert series, click here.

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