A Country Gentleman

For a career lasting over 50 years, Chet leaves a legacy that branches out and continues to grow to this day. Although we lost one of the most gifted musicians in the industry, his range of influence continues to spread long after his death in 2001.

Kitchener movers were given a collection of Atkin’s greatest hits by a client as a thank-you for a job well done. Atkins touched a wide audience range – north and south, east and west. From the beginning, his first single with The All-Star Hillbillies in 1946 set him in the public eye. He advanced in his role as a master musician until he retired from public appearances in 1996. His virtuosity as a guitarist was and still is regarded as one of the all-time best.

Although he could hold his own as a solo artist, Chet’s biggest contributions came as a sessions musician. Let’s just say he played well with others. In fact, those who he recorded and jammed with often took their cues from the great picker, and many went on to become number one hit artists themselves.

The Carter Sisters
Maybe the most well-known of the Carter Sisters is June Carter Cash. Wife of Johnny Cash, but first and foremost daughter to Maybelle Carter. Maybelle started singing in the 1920s, but formed the Carter Sisters during World War II with her daughters Helen, Anita and June.
They gained more notoriety after signing-on with the Grand Ole’ Opry in Nashville, Tennessee for a 10-year stint. Within those walls, they sang and played with country stars like Chet Atkins, Waylon Jennings, Elvis Presley and Ernest Tubb on national TV.

Waylon Jennings
Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys was a product of the “Nashville Sound” that Chet introduced. His contemporary and good buddy, Waylon Jennings’ was known as the “gun-toting, Texan tough guy of country” while Chet was the industry’s “Country Gentleman”, the two had a mutual respect through their love of Country music. They both began playing guitar before the age of ten and knew early on that their life was going to be about music.
Waylon’s authentic, deep voice brought the “sound” one step closer to where it is today. Jennings and Atkins collaborated at times on projects after Chet recruited him to sign with RCA Records.

Charley Pride
Another mega star to sign with RCA while Chet was at the helm was this gifted young man from Sledge, Mississippi. Like Chet and many of his contemporaries, Charley was just a kid when he bought his first guitar and learned from listening to his favorites on country radio. Shortly after signing with RCA, Pride brought home his first of several number one hit “Just Between You and Me”.  Charley Pride became the most lucrative performer that Chet had in his line-up of stars since Elvis Presley.

Chet was a positive force in the Country Music arena. He was a humble man and it’s rumored that he found something to like about anyone he met. For sure, he knew talent when he heard it and encouraged up-and-coming artists to persevere and follow their dreams.

From then until now, the music business has changed drastically. Money is the number one game in town and the competition is fierce. I wonder if Chet would recognize the industry he loved so much. One thing for sure, he would still be a country gentleman, no matter what.