Über Chet Atkins
The multifaceted Chet Atkins is probably the most influential person in Nashville -- and in country music as a whole. Throughout his long career he has been involved with every facet of the music business as a top session player, a solo artist, a record producer, an A&R man and a label executive. Atkins started out as a prodigiously gifted musician, inspired by the finger picking style of country super star Merle Travis. He went from a journeyman road musician to an in-demand sideman on the Grand Old Opry in a very short period of time. He was part of the first Nashville A-team of session players, contributing his distinctive sound to records by the Everly Brothers, Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson and just about any country artist who recorded at RCA Studios in the 1950s. Throughout his career he has recorded too many solo albums to count, all of which are marked by his sophisticated melding of Swing, jazz, Easy Listening and country picking. Atkins is the architect of the Nashville Sound, which brought strings and glossy production to country in the '60s and '70s. He is also responsible for signing and producing important artists such as Waylon Jennings, and mentoring the late jazz guitar innovator Lenny Breau and New Country hit maker Steve Wariner, to name just a few. He has won eleven Grammy awards.