TOMMY EMMANUEL And Billy Strings Join Forces For “Doc’s Guitar/Black Mountain Rag Featuring Billy Strings”

Article Contributed by SRO | Published on Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Coming off his singles/videos with Molly Tuttle (“White Freight Liner Blues”) and Little Feat/Sam Bush (“Cajun Girl”), Grammy-nominated acoustic guitarist extraordinaire, composer and global touring artist TOMMY EMMANUEL has today (April 24) rolled out “Doc’s Guitar/Black Mountain Rag Featuring Billy Strings.” Watch TOMMY’s video with Grammy-winning artist Billy Strings—filmed by Joshua Britt and Neilson Hubbard for Neighborhoods Apart at TuneSmith Studios outside of Nashville as the song was being recorded—HERE. The video was premiered yesterday (4/25) by The Bluegrass Situation HERE.

With an intoxicating blend of precision and passion, both guitarists light up this two-song bluegrass medley honoring their hero, bluegrass legend Doc Watson (who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this past March 3). The track kicks off TOMMY’s full-length collaborations album ACCOMPLICE TWO, the follow-up to his Accomplice One album (2018), out this Friday, April 28 via CGP Sounds. Pre-save the album HERE.

“Doc’s Guitar/Black Mountain Rag Featuring Billy Strings” starts with Doc’s own song “Doc’s Guitar” and segues into the “Black Mountain Rag,” an old fiddle tune that was Doc’s signature song. Strings is the Michigan-born guitarist who won the 2021 Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album for his release Home. Like TOMMY, Billy honors his roots while also expanding always as a musician. His energy combined with TOMMY’s is what drives the track.

Quote from TOMMY:

“I knew I wanted to have Billy Strings play with me on ‘Doc’s Guitar/Black Mountain Rag.’ The moment we played together the very first time at MerleFest (2016), I heard his beautiful phrasing and his Doc quotes that took me back to hearing Doc when I was a teenager. Billy has Doc in his DNA, so getting him to come and record these tunes was only a matter of finding a time to capture it in a studio. The actual recording was quick, and we only did a couple of takes and we were done. I had never heard Doc in Australia as I had spent most of my life in very rural areas where record stores were rare and music by Chet, Merle and Doc was impossible to find. It was an American tourist who saw me play at a show and came up to me afterwards and told me I sounded a bit like Doc Watson. I said, ‘who is Doc Watson? " He gave me his tape out of his car stereo and I heard Doc for the first time. I think that was around 1973-4. I was smitten with his singing and his great playing, and I could hear the influences of Chet Atkins and Merle Travis all over his playing, but there was some Jimmie Rodgers too. Then I found more recordings that led  to some of his fiddle tunes and blazing guitar works! My personal favorite recording by Doc is the album Reflections—a duets album with Chet Atkins. His legacy and body of work and influence are monumental and unequalled in my eyes. Thanks Doc for showing so many of us the way!”

Track details:

Doc’s Guitar/Black Mountain Rag featuring Billy Strings

Doc’s Guitar written by Doc Waters for Hilgreen Music (BMI)

Black Mountain Rag written by Leslie Keith (Public Domain)

Recorded at TuneSmith Studios in Goodlettsville, TN

Brad Benge - engineer

Billy Strings – guitar

Mike Bub - upright bass

Tommy Emmanuel – guitar

“My accomplices on this album are all in a league of giants to me,” says TOMMY. “They all inspire me to reach for the stars; to give my best while supporting them as they give their best. We all have a chemistry and electricity together when we play music. I wanted to capture this power in songs and performances that will stand the test of time.”

Produced lovingly by EMMANUEL, regarded by guitar great Chet Atkins as “one of the best guitar players I’ve ever seen,” the 16-track ACCOMPLICE TWO is a spirited mix of new takes on indelible classics and brand-new originals from TOMMY. His collaborators are some of the most remarkable musicians on the planet—an “A” list of musicians including Billy Strings, Molly Tuttle, Michael McDonald, Jamey Johnson and Raul Malo.

The album is alive with the electric spirit of spontaneous, timeless joy created by inspired virtuosos. The combined artistry contained on these tracks is stunning, as is TOMMY’s cheerful ease at connecting naturally with this vast spectrum of musicians.  Like the first volume, he merges the presence of beloved, legendary musicians—such as Jorma Kaukonen, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Little Feat, Sam Bush, the Del McCoury Band and Jerry Douglas—with the bright spirit of acclaimed young artists breaking through with deep artistry and true reverence for the power of song.

Look for TOMMY’s concert special “Accomplice LIVE!”—featuring such guests as Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Sierra Hull and Yasmin Williams—airing now on PBS during pledge drive. Known to deliver shows that are truly a head-spinning experience, TOMMY and his accomplices will be on the road throughout 2023 in America, Europe and Australia. His tour dates are HERE.

Here’s the track listing for ACCOMPLICE TWO:

1. Doc’s Guitar Black Mountain Rag Featuring Billy Strings

2. White Freight Liner Blues Featuring Molly Tuttle

3. Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man) Featuring Jamey Johnson

*4. Precious Time Featuring Sierra Hull

5. Cajun Girl Featuring Little Feat & Sam Bush

6. Another Man Done A Full Go Around Featuring Jorma Kaukonen

*7. Son Of A Gun Featuring Richard Smith

8. Someone Like You Featuring Michael McDonald

*9. Mombassa Featuring Yasmin Williams

10. Everybody Loves You Featuring Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams

*11. Mama Knows Featuring Jerry Douglas

12. Sweet Temptation Featuring The Del McCoury Band

13. Yeller Rose Of Texas Featuring Sam Bush

14. Tennessee Stud Featuring Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

15. Seven Come Eleven Featuring David Grisman

16. Far Away Places Featuring Raul Malo


*Original TOMMY song