Thursday, April 22, 2004

My new hero...

It is entirely unfitting for a man of true greatness to be forgotten. In my research for my music history paper, I have come to realize the dramatic effect Chet Atkins has had on my life and the lives of quite literally countless others in music and in character.

Chet's musicianship was unparalleled across the realm of American music. He single-handedly changed the face of rock'n'roll, country, jazz, and even classical music. His generosity and character touched the lives of my teachers, Kirk Hanser and John McClellan (I can call him my teacher even though I don't take lessons from him). So dramatically were they affected that as I read Chet's words and what others have spoken about him, I cannot help but realize that his musicality has, in a way, been passed down to me, to be manifested in how I approach and play classical guitar. Though, I could not possibly say I am Chet's successor, he far surpasses anything I will ever accomplish, I can see my growth as springing from him.

No guitarist should play without being a disciple of men like Chet, but not because he had impeccable technique (he did) or that he was famous (he was). He was the penultimate musician, full of life, vibrancy, and energy.

Jerry Reed said, "God was in him, God was speaking to the human race through music when Chet played! It was ethereal... I was transported, swept up in the music."

"Fight mediocrity tooth and nail -- that's my motto!"
- Chet Atkins, Certified Guitar Player