Chet Atkins' contributions to music as a producer were so immense that they rivaled his brilliance as an instrumentalist. Atkins supervised hit albums for a host of stars, ranging from Perry Como to Jim Reeves and Elvis Presley, and helped usher in and popularize the Nashville Sound. But he was most importantly a spectacular guitarist who forged a unique sound from the seemingly disparate styles of Django Reinhardt and Merle Travis, making superb records while mastering a technique that featured the thumb and two (occasionally three) fingers of the right hand. The number of master guitarists who cite him as a primary source not only include country instrumentalists, but also countless jazz and blues players. The 1987 program Certified Guitar Player was recorded in Nashville at Vanderbilt University's Neely Auditorium, where a select audience saw such great performers as Mark Knopfler, The Everly Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson offering their tributes and joining Atkins in a wonderful program that recalled his monumental exploits proving that Chet Atkins was still a formidable guitarist.
Thu., March 11, 7 p.m., 2010