Guitar Gallows Bio Information - Rik Emmett
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Rik Emmett was a relatively unknown singer/songwriter/guitarist on the local Toronto scene in September of ‘75 when he joined a newly-formed hard rock trio called Triumph. By ‘79 three albums had gone gold and platinum in Canada - two of these charted in the States, receiving serious radio airplay. By ‘81, they were firmly established as one of the premier touring rock acts in North America, with generous FM radio airplay support and heavy rotation on the fledgling MTV cable channel. In the next seven years, Triumph released a total of ten albums, all of which went gold, with four turning platinum, in Canada. In the U.S., two went gold. Emmett's name frequently appeared in guitar magazine polls and he won several prestigious awards, including Best Lead Guitarist nationally in 1981. Rik left the band in ‘88 to fly solo, but as one of the band’s original members, he was inducted into the Canadian Rock Hall of Fame in ‘93.
Rik's solo career spawned three releases for Duke Street/MCA Records in the early ‘90’s. The first album of the three, Absolutely, went gold in 1990, yielding the hits "Saved by Love" and "Big Lie", two songs that provided a transition from arena rock while maintaining a sense of continuity at FM radio. Perhaps a bit more of a surprise was the ballad, "When a Heart Breaks" which crossed a rock guitar hero over into other radio formats and revealed a more sensitive singer/songwriter persona.
"World of Wonder" also received substantial airplay and revealed an expanding lyrical and stylistic range. The “Ipso Facto” CD followed in '92, offering up the hits "Out of The Blue" (a jazzy-bluesy tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughn, Hendrix and Wes Montgomery) and "Bang On", a rocking return to one of Rik's personal themes - positive motivation and inspiration. Ipso Facto was a tour-de-force of stylistic versatility, but no surprise to fans who knew the guy who constantly plugged trademark classical guitar pieces or little jazz tunes in between the hard rock anthems, arena blues riffs and progressive flourishes found on past records.
A strong singer/songwriter album called Spiral Notebook followed in '95, which earned notice through airplay of its sensitive balladeer singles "Let Me Be The One" and "The Longing". In ‘96, Emmett began testing the courage of his musical convictions with work in his own digital studio and through his own independent record label. Artistically, following those instincts paid off. The first release was Ten Invitations from the Mistress of Mr E., beautifully realized original instrumentals of classical nylon-string guitar. Critics and fans were reminded that the 'rock guitar god' was not a one-trick pony. Part two of his guitar trilogy, Swing Shift, took a completely different musical direction, featuring jazz, swing and fusion. Again, the CD was well received and piqued the interest of brand-new fans in growing musical circles. Perhaps more importantly, the spirits of diehard supporters were elevated by witnessing an artistic transformation that defied easy classification. Raw Quartet, released in early 1999, became the final CD in the trilogy, displaying Rik's passion and natural affinity for blues. 1999's Live at Berklee (highlights from sold out shows at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston) was followed by a traditional Spirit Of Christmas album, recorded in collaboration with Glass Tiger keyboardist Sam Reid. 2002 brought the release of a “20th Century Masters” “Best of Rik Emmett Collection” through Universal, and another widely-acclaimed instrumental smooth jazz masterpiece CD - Handiwork. In the late summer of 2003, the acoustic singer/songwriter re-emerged with the GOOD FAITH CD, and another new chapter was written in an already storied career.
In 2005, Rik was honored as Jazz Guitarist of the Year at the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards, and in the summer of 2006, the wide range of Emmett’s abilities went on display - from a smooth jazz festival in Canada to a heavy metal festival in Germany: from Artistic Directing a songwriting workshop to hanging & jamming with Alex Lifeson of Rush at the Guitar Workshop Plus: A guitar magazine once wrote that Rik Emmett was "his own worst enemy. He's one of the only guitarists out there who may be too talented for his own damn good". The quote stuck because it was partly true, in our celebrity/tabloid/sound bite world: but also because it recognized the artist as unique, and provided insight on an 19-year solo career, still going strong, based on being a genuine and loyal friend to his gifts, instead of being a slave to a superficial two dimensional fashion marketplace, with product to match.
Rik has held true to his dreams of the magic power of the music, and he shares that with every audience, of every stripe, every night that he performs. Rik's latest cd is STRUNG OUT TROUBADOURS with Dave Dunlop has just one two awards at Canada's Smooth Jazz Awards for Album of the year and group/duo of the year.-2007.