Tommy Emmanuel and John Knowles Announce Collaborative Instrumental Album, ‘Heart Songs’

(Image credit: Allen Clarke)

Tommy Emmanuel and John Knowles have announced the release of a new collaborative instrumental album, Heart Songs, on January 11, 2019, via CGP Sounds/Thirty Tigers.

Recorded at EastWest Studios in Los Angeles, Heart Songs features arrangements of Hank Williams’ "Cold, Cold Heart,"  the Bee Gees’ "How Deep Is Your Love," Billy Joel’s "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)" and Michael McDonald’s "I Can Let Go Now" among its 14 tracks.

Said McDonald about the cover of “I Can Let Go Now,” "To hear a master like Tommy Emmanuel interpret any song is a joyous and emotional experience to say the least. To hear such a master perform one of your own compositions is the experience of a lifetime. One for which I'll be forever be grateful."

Said Emmanuel about the album, "A 'heart song' is really a love song. Love has many facets—love of family, romantic love. So we started there and then looked for melodies that could be played with heart."

Added Knowles, "And we tried to choose songs that people have heard. So that when they hear them, even though we're not singing or they may not know all the words, they have a connection to these songs in their own hearts."

Regarding their playing on the album, Emmanuel said, "It was a wakeup call to not overplay, to be respectful and serve the music properly.”

“When you're being respectful to the melody, you're also respecting the listener's previous experience with that song," said Knowles. "We play into their expectations while at the same time surprising them now and then."

Emmanuel and Knowles will kick off a tour in support of Heart Songs in San Francisco on January 8, 2019. Tickets for all shows go on sale November 2. For more information on the album and tour, head over to

Heart Songs track listing:

"Cold, Cold Heart" (written by Hank Williams)

"How Deep Is Your Love" (written by The Bee Gees)

"I Can't Stop Loving You" (written by Don Gibson)

"Somewhere" (written by Leonard Bernstein from West Side Story)

"I Can Let Go Now" (written by Michael McDonald)

"Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)" (written by Billy Joel)

"After Paris" (written by John Knowles)

"Walkin' My Baby Back Home" (written by Roy Turk and Fred Ahlert)

"I Can't Make You Love Me" (written by Allen Shamblin and Michael Reid)

"Where Is Love" (written by Lionel Bart for Oliver!)

"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" (written by Bobby Russell and Bobby Scott)

"Eva Waits" (written by Tommy Emmanuel)

"Turning Home (Live)"

"How Deep Is Your Love (Live)"

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.