Steve Wariner

My Tribute to Chet Atkins

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Steve Wariner has placed dozens of hits on the country charts over the past three decades, traversing the many styles and moods of contemporary country. But this time around it's all about payback: No one had a greater influence on Wariner than the late guitar god Chet Atkins, and the purpose of this album is solely to acknowledge that debt. Wariner has released all-instrumental recordings before, but never one devoted to a single musician. The 11 tracks here include a handful of songs associated with Atkins but most are Wariner compositions in which he showcases Atkins' style. The set begins with one called "Leavin' Luttrell," its name taken from Atkins' hometown of Luttrell, TN. It's meant to capture the essence of Atkins' earliest work and it does so admirably. Other tracks tap into the honky tonk fiddle tunes, the orchestral countrypolitan sound, and even the versatile Atkins' flirtations with jazz. "Reeding Out Loud" is a double tribute, honoring not only Atkins but the late Jerry Reed, one of the many artists with whom Atkins worked, while "Producer's Medley" is exactly what it says it is: a careful fusion of bits from songs associated with everyone from the Everly Brothers to Skeeter Davis to Perry Como, three of the countless artists Atkins produced. Throughout the album, Wariner's guitar work is crisp, sharp and smart -- he never attempts to imitate Atkins but he manages to embody him nonetheless.

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