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Frank Vignola and Tommy Emmanuel on Mountain Stage

Frank Vignola and Tommy Emmanuel perform on <em>Mountain Stage</em>.
Amos Perrine
Mountain Stage
Frank Vignola and Tommy Emmanuel perform on Mountain Stage.

"Frank Vignola is one of the most extraordinary guitarists performing before the public today," says Mountain Stage host Kathy Mattea, introducing a stunning guitarist she'd met some years prior at a concert in Italy.

For the past six years, Vignola has toured as one-half of a guitar duo with Vinny Raniolo, with whom he was set to perform on the Mountain Stage — but Raniolo was called away unexpectedly. Thankfully, Vignola had an ace up his sleeve.

"I brought a newcomer to introduce you to, he is a fabulous guitarist I heard a few weeks ago, and he's got a really bright future ahead of him," Vignola said, baiting the audience with a wink. "I would love to introduce you to Tommy Emmanuel. Thank you, Tommy, for stepping up."

The long-time friends and guitar virtuosos, who first collaborated in 2009 with their iconic recording Just Between Frets, began their set with the classic "If I Had You," then joyously riffed and romped their way through five more before concluding. The duo expertly traded increasingly complex licks, with Edgar Sampson's "Stompin' at the Savoy," and perfectly-matched twin-guitar harmony runs throughout Django Reinhardt's "Swing 42."

"Yes, soak in that love," Mattea says near the end. "That's just a little something they threw together this afternoon when Vinny couldn't make it. That's just how they roll."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Dave Lavender