Tag Archives: Chet Atkins

Country Music H.O.F. To Hold Chet Atkins Programs In March

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The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will present two special programs next month in support of the exhibition Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player.

On March 3, The Life and Times of Chet Atkins by Dr. Richard Hood will be presented in the museum’s Ford Theater.  Hood, an Atkins scholar and finger-style guitarist himself, will trace Atkins’ life from his rural childhood to his career as a legendary guitarist and producer. Ben Hall and Eddie Pennington, both winners of the National Thumbpicking Championship, will perform selections from the Atkins catalog. Pennington will also present a thumbpick guitar demonstration on March 4.

Then on March 17, the museum will host Chet Atkins at Studio B, a panel discussion featuring some of Atkins’ closest associates.  RCA crossover artists Bobby Bare (“Detroit City”) and Jim Ed Brown (“The Three Bells”), background singer Delores Dinning Edgin, studio guitarist Ray Edenton, and hit songwriter John D. Loudermilk (“Abilene”) will share stories of their work with Atkins, providing insights into what made him one of country music’s most successful producers of all time. The program will be streamed live on the Country Music Hall of Fame’s official website.

Following the panel discussion, Hall will present The House That Chet Built: A Chet Atkins Tour of Historic RCA Studio B. This unique guided tour will show how Atkins worked in his longtime recording home, logging many hours as a musician and a producer and cutting records that helped define the classic Nashville sound.

For tickets and more information, click here.

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Country Music Hall Of Fame To Hold Chet Atkins Concert Screening

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This Sunday at 2 p.m., the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville will screen a legendary concert film featuring Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed from 1992.

Taped at the Bottom Line, the duo scheduled the show after putting out a Grammy Award-winning album titled Sneakin’ Around.

The two finger-style guitar giants banter on stage and play such tunes as “Waltz for the Lonely,” “Vincent,” “Three Little Words.”

Fellow guitarists Pat Bergeson and Paul Yandell also contribute to the concert.

The screening is being held as part of the Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player exhibit.

For more information, visit the exhibit’s website, and view part of the Atkins and Reed show below:

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Harrison Lands At No. 11 In Rolling Stone‘s Greatest Guitarists

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As 2011 wound down, Rolling Stone compiled a list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, and George Harrison stands at No. 11 among the prolific list of virtuoso musicians.

In the early-December issue of the magazine, Tom Petty offered Harrison high praise.

Wrote Petty:

“George Harrison and I were once in a car and the Beatles song ‘You Can’t Do That‘ came on, with that great riff in the beginning on the 12-string. He goes, ‘I came up with that.’ And I said, ‘Really? How?’ He said, ‘I was just standing there and thought, “I’ve got to do something!’

“That pretty much sums him up. He just had a way of getting right to the business, of finding the right thing to play. That was part of that Beatles magic – they all seemed to find the right thing to play.”

Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page earned the top three slots on the list, with Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Eddie Van Halen, Duane Allman and Pete Townshend rounding out the top 10.

Gretsch signature artists Chet Atkins and Bo Diddley came in at Nos. 21 and 27, respectively.

“His style was outrageous,” Keith Richards told RS of Diddley; it suggested “that the kind of music we loved didn’t just come from Mississippi. It was coming from somewhere else.”

“I think he influenced everybody who picked up a guitar,” Duane Eddy said of Atkins to Rolling Stone.

Eddy himself was also honored on this list, coming in at No. 64.

“If there was any doubt left in the late 1950s that the guitar – not the saxophone – was rock & roll’s essential lead instrument, Duane Eddy settled the argument: See his 1958 single ‘Rebel Rouser,’ curled with country twang and rippling with tremolo,” noted the music mag of the Gretsch signature artist.

For the full list, click here.

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Premier Guitar Looks At Chet Atkins Exhibit

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The latest issue of Premier Guitar takes a look inside the Chet Atkins exhibit that is currently open at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.

While the Grammy Awards, photos and instruments are all impressive, the magazine calls Atkins’ legendary workbench a highlight.

“It’s full of vacuum tubes, pickups, homemade effects boxes, snapshots, and a soldering iron,” writes Craig Havighurst.  ”It looks like the inveterate tinkerer just stepped out of the room. It’s a microlevel look at an outsized legacy.”


The piece also delves into the collection of Atkins’ guitars on display, including his Gretsch Streamliner 6120 Prototype.

Notes Havighurst:

“This prototype had a carved top and back, in the traditional style. Fred W. Gretsch, current president of the company and great grandson of its founder, says the model quickly took an interesting turn toward a more rigid top and back to offer a more stable mounting for the pickups. ‘Plywood tops and backs with electric guitars made a lot more sense,’ Gretsch says. ‘And we were doing plywood drums and had been doing them since the late ’20s and we had done a lot of refinements in the early ’50s. So we tried out some plywood tops and backs with Chet and he dug the tone. So we migrated to plywood on this model.’

“Introducing the model just as Chet first hit as a recording artist with ‘Mr. Sandman,’ Gretsch couldn’t have timed it better. This guitar inaugurated a 25-year relationship between artist and company.”

Meanwhile, Havighurst recently contributed another piece about Atkins to NPR.

In it, he quotes Country star Steve Wariner, a longtime Atkins friend and protege. Count Wariner among those wowed by the Atkins exhibit, especially the workbench.

“I had goose bumps,” Wariner says. “It’s exactly the way it looked at his house when you walked into his control room.”

Read the full Premier Guitar article here, while NPR’s coverage of the hallowed finger-style guitarist can be found here.

For more information about the Chet Atkins exhibit, which is open until June of 2012, visit the Country Music Hall of Fame’s official website.

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Legendary Guitarist Paul Yandell Dies At 76

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Legendary guitarist Paul Yandell, known for his longtime rhythm role alongside Chet Atkins, passed away Monday morning in Hendersonville, Tenn., following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Yandell was Atkins’ right-hand man for over 25 years, but he has also played on records from Dolly Parton, George Straight, Perry Como, Steve Wariner, Mary Chapin Carpenter and the Everly Brothers.

The Kentucky native moved to Nashville in 1955 and began recording as a professional with the Louvin Brothers.

Following a stint in the Army, Yandell recorded primarily with Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright, spent a year with George Hamilton IV, and then began an incredible run with Atkins in 1975 that lasted until Atkins’ death in 2001.

“Nobody was closer to [Atkins] than Paul,” Atkins’ daughter, Merle Atkins Russell, told The Tennessean.  ”He was literally a lifelong friend, his right-hand man and a very dear friend off the stage.”

Yandell recorded five solo albums and most recently appeared on Wariner’s latest record, Guitar Laboratory, which was released earlier this year.

After Atkins’ death, Yandell became the prime source of information on Atkins’ techniques and equipment, even working with Gretsch to create guitars with Atkins’ favorite specs.

In the video below, Yandell and Wariner perform for the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society in 2010:

Yandell’s official website will post details about the arrangements when they are available.

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