Chet Atkins is one of the most influential personalities to ever come out Nashville. Credited with creating the commercial middle-of-the-road "Nashville Sound," Atkins--a guitar virtuoso as well as a keen-eared record executive--remains at the forefront of the country music scene. READ MY LICKS won him a Grammy in 1995.
Tackling such diverse fare as pop standards and folk rock, Atkins is equally adept at capturing the breezy jazz feel of Johnny Mercer's string-accented "Dream" as he is with a spare, solo interpretation of Don McLean's "Vincent." Incorporating vocal assistance from sweet-voiced Suzy Bogguss and meaty instrumental backing from guitarist Mark Knopfler, fiddler Stuart Duncan and country piano legend Floyd Cramer, Atkins constructs a full spectrum of sound. But it is Atkins' own nimble and intricate fingerpicking that is the true centerpiece here. Country-based, with jazz, blues, pop and classical inflections, Atkins gracefully glides through styles as if he were skating on smooth ice. There is a constant motion when he plays, utilizing the three-finger-style Travis technique, with the melody floating above the booming lower notes. This method makes the solo "Vincent" as full-sounding as any of the more orchestrated tracks.