Watch "The Greatest One-Man Music Show in the World" Tommy Emmanuel And "Genius" Richard Smith’s Insane “Son of a Gun” Acoustic Guitar Duet

Tommy Emmanuel playing an acoustic guitar
(Image credit: Simone Cecchett)

Australian guitar phenom Tommy Emmanuel has released a stunning performance video featuring himself and fellow picking master Richard Smith duetting in the studio.

Dedicated to Tommy’s late friend Thom Bresh (son of Merle Travis) who passed away last year, this jaw-dropping rendition of “Son of a Gun” was recorded at TuneSmith Studios in Goodlettsville, TN.

Composed by Tommy, “Son of a Gun” appears on his highly acclaimed Accomplice Two album – a collection of tracks featuring a variety of notables including Billy Strings, Molly Tuttle, Jorma Kaukonen, Yasmin Williams and more. 

Starring renowned British guitarist Richard Smith, “Son of a Gun” is the seventh track on Accomplice Two and one of four penned by Tommy himself.

“There is no greater pleasure for me than playing music with Tommy,” said Richard. “He has such an infectious groove that always pushes the energy level to the max. He is one of my very favorite people and musicians of all time and it’s always an honor to perform together. He is also the greatest one-man music show in the world.”

Here, Tommy recounts the “Son of a Gun” story and recalls warm memories of the composition's dedicatee.      

Tommy Emmaneul 'Accomplice Two' album artwork

(Image credit: CGP Sounds)

What inspired you to write “Son of a Gun” in dedication to Thom Bresh and what did you want to convey about him?

I wrote “Son of a Gun” as a tribute to Thom Bresh, the son of our beloved Merle Travis. Thom was a great son, and he bragged about his dad a lot. He played better than his dad. He was a clever player, singer, writer, and he spread a lot of joy around the world in his lifetime.

I wrote this song in a typical Travis style, but it's from my era, so the bridge is influenced by Stevie Wonder! As Chet Atkins would say, "It's a little modern for the ol' man!"

Why did you choose to collaborate with Richard Smith on this one?

I had to have Richard Smith do the harmony parts as he was the only player capable of playing that part. It's a doozie to play! He worked out all those harmonies and counterparts, because he's a genius!

Can you talk about the recording of the song?

We recorded separately and filmed our parts at different times too. Richard was away on tour, and I recorded my performance of the song and left it in his hands. He came back home from tour, went in and recorded/filmed his part, and boom…it's a duet!

Any personal reflections about Thom Bresh? There are some excellent YouTube videos of you performing with him.

Bresh was my favorite thumb-picker. He had everything at his peak, and he grooved better than anyone. His ideas were fluid and rooted in his dad, Chet Atkins, and Jerry Reed.

His compositions were so clever and addictive. He was a larger-than-life character who could be the most charming or the most thorny person to be around. We had a lot of good times touring together, and he loved telling the stories of his dad's songs.

Thom we miss you…son of a gun!

Catch Tommy Emmanuel on tour now. Click here for info and tickets. 

Rod Brakes

Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as GuitaristTotal Guitar, Guitar WorldGuitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.