When I First Heard Chet
Art Borgeson (somewhere in Ohio)
In 1956, when I heard Scotty Moore play rhythm and solo on "Mystery Train", I was hooked on guitar. My Uncle Andy gave me a Stella guitar and showed me a few chords. He took me to see Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two and I fell in love with that choked bass sound of Luther Perkins. I couldn't play like Scotty but maybe I could play like Luther. Let me tell you something, Luther Perkins is much harder to imitate than you think. When he stepped up and broke into the solo on "Get Rythym" I about came out of my seat. Marty Stuart and others who followed Luthers untimely death, did a good job, but the magic was gone.
Anyway, I started researching and found out Scotty had been influenced by Chet Atkins so I purchased my first Chet album containing "Black Mountain Rag" and never looked back. I spent years trying to get that arrangement to sound right in the key of "A" only to find out it was done in open "G" tuning and probably capoed at the second fret.
I read liner notes that said Chet picked note after fantastic note with each finger of his right hand. that also screwed me up for years until I finally saw Chet play with mainly his thumb and two fingers.
Anyway, for 45 years I've been trying to play like Chet. I've made enough progress to keep at it but every time I review a tune that I think I have down, I hear something I missed
I read a liner note once that there is no better definition of an artist than the anticipation of what they'll do next. A very bright light is dimming. May our Lord, Jesus take care of one of his finest creations.