June 23, 2009 — Steve Wariner had the distinction of learning much about his chosen line of work by playing in the band behind Country Music Hall of Famer Chet Atkins, and he pays homage to the late guitarist with the Tuesday release of My Tribute To Chet Atkins.
The CD, which includes newly written material and covers of some of Chet's recordings, sought to reflect the multi-layered talents that Chet exemplified. He was a musician, a record producer and label executive. He worked in country, pop, rock and jazz. And he was a master technician, building guitars and creating his own fingering technique, which allowed him to play the melody and backing chords simultaneously.
Defining exactly what it is that made Chet so successful, however, is a challenge.
"That's still the million-dollar question," Steve says. "But I found myself workin' on this project and still doing research and going, 'Oh, my god.' I rediscovered20things [that reaffirm] why he's so brilliant. It was really neat, dissecting it. I did tons of research for this proejct and found some old audio clips and things I'd never heard before. I found out a lot. I also found myself after all these years rewinding and going, 'How in the hell did he do that?' So that was neat, but brilliant. It even makes me have more respect, if it's possible."
The rest of the industry still has respect, too. Chet's being inducted in October into the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville, along with Charlie Daniels, Toto and Jimi Hendrix sideman Billy Cox, among others.
Steve will pay further honor to Chet July 7 with a benefit concert at Nashville's Loveless Barn, with proceeds slated for the Chet Atkins Music Education Fund.