In the 1970s, Tommy was in high demand as a session player and sideman: he played on recordings for Air Supply, Men at Work and dozens of other popular bands and artists, as well as thousands of commercial jingles and tunes. Some of his most notable appearances were on the Air Supply hit singles “Lost in Love,” “All Out of Love,” “Every Woman in the World,” and “Now and Forever.” Tommy soon became known as one of the best modern guitarists in Australia. In 1985 he joined one of the decade’s biggest Australian rock bands, Dragon, and recorded the platinum-selling album Dreams of Ordinary Men. It is for his successful solo career, however, that Tommy is best known.
In the 1980s, Tommy finally met and got to play with his hero, Chet Atkins, in Nashville, TN. From that magical moment forward, Atkins took him under his wing, and the influences are evident throughout Tommy’s music: in his personal philosophy, technical precision, virtuosic improvisations and unusually broad repertoire (encompassing not only country and bluegrass, but pop, jazz, blues, gospel, even classical, flamenco, and aboriginal styles). Tommy speaks of his mentor with the love and gratitude of a son, and his dream of recording with Chet Atkins came true in 1996 when the pair made an album titled “The Day The Finger Pickers Took Over The World” for which Tommy received his first GRAMMY award nomination.