(1924 - 2001) 
(born Chester Burton Atkins, June 20, 1924,
Luttrell, Tennessee; died June 30, 2001,
Nashville, Tennessee)
If one were to seek a single career which exemplifies the changes country music has undergone during the past seven decades, the life of Chet Atkins stands as an excellent example.

When, as a child, Atkins first studied the music of the south, country performance was essentially folk in nature, characterized by the traditional sound of the fiddle, banjo, and unamplified guitar.  By the time Chet achieved international recognition as a musician and businessman, country music had become a sophisticated popular art form, surrounded by all of the legal, musical , and professional paraphernalia which characterizes popular music in any era.

The manner in which Atkins's artistry and personality altered and responded to the changing context of country performance tells us much about an individual career and also charts the course taken by country music in its journey from rural folk music to commercial art form.

Atkins's career is unique in a single respect:  Every stage in his development as a musician has been matched by an increased impact on the business side of country music.  Chet has, thus, possessed an opportunity afforded few artists, that of consistently imposing his personal interpretation of country music upon a major corporation (RCA Records) and upon many country entertainers.

While the modern corporate context of commercial music can sometimes make pawns of performers, Atkins was always able to work effectively within the business of music, and at times was able to dominate an unwieldy corporate structure.  His impact upon country music, therefore, must be gauged within two context; for his guitar stylings influenced generations of performers, while his success as an A&R director for RCA carried the influence of his taste and personality into the realm of the music business.

William Ivey -- Stars of Country Music

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By Carl P. McConnell

Mabel McConnell talks about the Carter Family, Doc & Carl,
The Original Virginia Boys and the early days of radio.-

But for a few twists of fate, Atlanta could easily have grown to be the recording center that Nashville is today.Pickin' on Peachtree traces Atlanta's emergence in the 1920s as a major force in country recording and radio broadcasting, a position of dominance it enjoyed for some forty years. From the Old Time Fiddlers' Conventions and barn dances through the rise of station WSB and other key radio outlets, Wayne W. Daniel thoroughly documents the consolidation of country music as big business in Atlanta. He also profiles a vast array of performers, radio personalities, and recording moguls who transformed the Peachtree city into the nerve center of early country music. 



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