As he has on a number of his albums over the past couple of decades, Australian guitar virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel proudly affixes "CGP" to his name, in much the same way the guy who does your taxes has "CPA" on his business card. It's shorthand for "Certified Guitar Player," a title bestowed by the late Chet Atkins on only a handful of guitar pickers he deemed worthy, Emmanuel among that chosen few. Emmanuel is also the "Accomplice" in the title, as the disc features him trading licks (instrumental and vocal) with a cast of characters that includes - and this is just skimming the surface - David Grisman, Ricky Skaggs, Suzy Bogguss, Mark Knopfler and Jorma Kaukonen. If it's true that you're known by the company you keep, then Emmanuel is truly cruising down his musical highway in the fast lane these days.
Sixteen tracks in all, Emmanuel displays his versatility in terms of style and content as he gives nods to several of his inspirations and idols. Recalling Doc Watson, he joins Grisman and Bryan Sutton on "Watson Blues," pays tribute to Django Reinhardt with "Djangology" (a Reinhardt/Grappelli tune from the '30s on which he's helped out by Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo) and pairs off with Jerry Douglas for some "acoustic Hendrix" with "Purple Haze." If there's one cut that makes the disc worth having on its own, though, it's his duet with Knopfler on "You Don't Want To Get You One Of Those," an ode by Knopfler to that old junker we all used to own and drive and complain about, yet still remember fondly. It's one of the tracks that gives Emmanuel a chance to demonstrate that, on the right material, he's a more than respectable singer as well. It's all in good fun, and Emmanuel is one of those select talents whose enthusiasm and joy for performing comes through as well in the studio as it does on stage.