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Mister Guitar

Chet Atkins

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Released in October 1959, Mister Guitar is among the finest of Chet Atkins’ early LPs for RCA-Victor. The recordings showed not only his continuing prowess and development as a guitarist but also his savvy in conjuring dreamy and hypnotic moods without abandoning his country roots. While songs like “Country Style,” “Backwoods," and “Country Gentlemen” presented stylish updates of Merle Travis’ architecture for a generation that had adopted Frank Sinatra as its style icon, the key songs here are “I Know That You Know” and “Siesta.” These pieces not only highlight Atkins’ amazing control and featherweight touch—they also design their own dream space, qualifying as modernistic mood music at a time when Martin Denny and Les Baxter were capturing the public’s imagination with lush projections of exotic locales. At a time when country music was still one-dimensional, Atkins fearlessly expanded the genre’s sonic palette. His early explorations are still wondrously luxuriant—and, in the case of “Slinkey,” surprisingly psychedelic at a time when psychedelia wasn't yet a concept.


Born: June 20, 1924 in Luttrell, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Without Chet Atkins, country music may never have crossed over into the pop charts in the '50s and '60s. Although he recorded hundreds of solo records, Atkins' largest influence came as a session musician and a record producer. During the '50s and '60s, he helped create the Nashville...
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