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Triumph guitarist still fights the good fight -- but more quietly

of the Oakland Press

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His years in the Canadian rock trio Triumph established Rik Emmett as an electric guitar hero. But these days hes more apt to be found with an acoustic six-string both on his own and in the duo Strung-Out Troubadours and receiving honors such as the 2005 Canadian Smooth Jazz Award for Guitarist of the Year.

I think everybodys a folkie at heart, says Emmett, 57. When I was a kid in high school and playing assemblies and coffee houses and stuff, I was trying my hand at James Taylor tunes and Paul Simon tunes. The rock n roll thing was, OK, Ive got to try to get everybodys attention now ...

In truth I think I enjoy the intimacy of an acoustic show a little bit more than electric not to say I dislike electric, but its a little more involved with lugging out equipment and having to wear earplugs, scream at the top of my lungs ... If Im doing an acoustic show it gives me a little more range to do a lot of the things that come more naturally to me. And I think its easier for a crowd of people to embrace a guy whos doing a singer-songwriter thing as opposed to growing his hair out and putting the spandex back on.

Emmett is working toward another Strung-Out Troubadours album with partner Dave Dunlop, but hes also been immersed in some recent Triumph activity, including a pair of reunion shows and an induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2008 and a Greatest Hits Remixed set that came out in May. But plans for a tour have not come to fruition, and Emmett is happy to go on without that looming as a prospect.

I think (Triumph shows) would be as much fun as any other kind of a thing, he explains. And there are a lot more Triumph fans than there are fans who embrace my independent little folkie thing. Im not trying to con anybody here; its a much smaller and more humble and modest kind of life that I have.

And Im not complaining about it at all. Sometimes less is more, and I have a little more freedom now to get to do things now.

Rik Emmett and Dave Dunlop perform Sunday, Sept. 26, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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