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“Travis picking.” The elegant fingerstyle playing of Tennessean Chet Atkins was inspired by a variety of factors, not the least of which was Travis’s playing, but that also included classical and jazz influences. Finally, there is Doc Watson, a blind man from North Carolina whose voracious appetite for hillbilly phonograph records resulted in him becoming a virtual walking museum of early country guitar styles. In particular, Watson championed the sounds of flatpickingers such as Riley Puckett and Alton Delmore along with a variety of other influences including Maybelle Carter, Jimmie Rodgers, Mississippi John Hurt, Merle Travis and Chet Atkins.

This tape showcases these four performers in rarely seen footage. Together, these are some of the most influential guitarists in country music history, and although they are guitarists whose styles differ greatly from one another, have shared a kind of “mutual admiration society” for one another through their artistry.

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Chet Atkins & Merle Travis

Photo courtesy of the Merle Travis Estate

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