Chet will always hold his place in musical history as one of the top 10 guitar virtuosos. He inspired many and his legacy will not be forgotten. However, where did Chet find the inspiration that led him to earn the long-standing title of “Mr. Guitar”?
Chet’s half-brother, Jim was his first local idol. James was 12 years older and as a child, Chet listened to Jim play on Chicago’s WLS radio broadcasting system program, The National Barn Dance. From 1935 to 1939, Jim was actively making music with some of the upcoming greats in the industry. This time acted as paving services, putting down musical foundations for Chet to come into his own musically. Through the years, Jim played with several gifted artists, but one of the most influential musicians in Chet’s early life was, Les Paul.
When Chet Atkins was in his heyday we lived in simpler times. It was a time before the internet and social media and entertainers getting themselves confused with being political pundits. Back then people listened to our favorite crooners and didn’t have to take in their personal rhetoric about who should be or shouldn’t be holding public office.
Chet Atkins performed at the White House for every President from John F. Kennedy all the way through to George H.W. Bush, but we never heard him spout out his political views. His job was to entertain and bring music to the people – plain and simple. Jobs are self-designated. Chefs cook, landscapers offer tree trimming service Kansas City MO and musicians perform music. It seems that using fame as a foundation for wisdom is not necessarily credible.