Tuesday, April 14, 2009
– The Steve Wariner tribute album to Chet Atkins is slated to drop in late June.
"You can't out-Chet Chet," he said of the late Country Music Hall of Fame member and guitarist who was his friend, musical mentor, producer and boss.
"This is simply my way of honoring and paying homage to the genius and talent of the man who, in my opinion, is the greatest and most influential guitarist on the planet."
"c.g.p., My Tribute to Chet Atkins," an 11-song collection, will be out on Wariner's SelecTone Records on June 23, between Atkins' birthdate of June 20 and the anniversary of his death on June 30. "c.g.p." stands for "Certified Guitar Player," a title that Atkins bestowed on four guitar pickers: Tommy Emmanuel, John Knowles, the late Jerry Reed and Wariner.
Wariner takes the listener on a journey through the wide range of material that Atkins recorded - from his early days playing the mountain music of his native Luttrell, Tenn., to swing, rockabilly, pop, folk and jazz. Wariner includes his versions of some of the songs that Atkins recorded or performed - Back Home Again in Indiana, John Henry and Blue Angel, plus Producer's Medley, featuring some of the many hits that Atkins produced for other artists.
Wariner wrote in the various styles that Atkins made famous. Leavin' Luttrell conveys Atkins' East Tennessee roots, while Leona is about the love between Atkins and his wife, who were married for 56 years. Reeding Out Loud honors one of Atkins' greatest talent discoveries, Reed.
While Wariner grew up listening to Atkins' music, it wasn't until he was 18 years old and playing bass in Dottie West's band that he met his musical idol during a tour of Europe that included several RCA artists. Atkins produced Wariner's first records at RCA Studio B, after guitarist Paul Yandell heard Wariner during a recording session for his then-boss, Bob Luman, and took a tape to Atkins. Following Luman's death, Atkins hired Wariner to play bass in his band. When Wariner scored his first top-10 hit with Your Memory, Atkins promptly "fired" him, saying that he needed to embark on his own solo career. "Chet was an incredible person who gave me so many opportunities. I'm proud to call him my friend," said Wariner.