The Chet Atkins Appreciation Society Convention
Guitar related vendors
were already set up in a trade show room down the hall,
where you can sample and buy products such as guitars, rare
record albums, thumbpicks, instructional materials, and
videos. Guitar makers Paul McGill and
Harvey Leach displayed their instruments, as did
Kent Everett and others.
That afternoon I caught a performance on the main stage
by Michael O'Dorn of California and then went to my hotel
to check in and head off to dinner.
Day Two - Thursday:
On Thursday I met many of the
Chet fans I have chatted with on the Internet over the
last 6 months. These are folks I had come to know online,
but had not met in person: Chris Vickers, Palmer Moore,
Dave Baer, Dan Bishop, Mark Bruffey, Tony Rose and Jimmy
Goode were the first ones I met. I also met the man web
guitarists call the "king" of tablature, Larry Kuhns.
Larry uses a software program called "tabledit" to
figure out and transcribe some of Chet's tunes and
emails them to friends. Another guy, John Langford
had a digital camera and he was walking around taking
photos for the "Chet Atkins Fans" webpage, a meeting
place for Chet fans on Cyber River.
I also got to meet and play with
Julian Smith, a great fingerstyle guitarist from
Bowdon, Georgia. He played "Copper Kettle" faster than
I expected and it was tough keeping up with the chords
on that one, but a thrill to play with him.
Bergeson, a multi-talented guitar player who has toured
with Chet in recent years played with Bill Piburn on the
mainstage. After an unusually long attempt to get the
tuning and sound just right they sounded great together,
and Bergeson even played harmonica on a few tunes.
Thursday afternoon I spent about 45 minutes with
Thom Bresh in the hotel restaurant and he told me
about his experience as the son of the great Merle Travis
and how he came into his own career and developed his
picking style and what he thought about Chet and Jerry
Reed and everything else important in this world.
Thom is a funny guy who is entertaining to be around
on-stage and off. He's also a bit of a "gadget" junkie.
He loves the new technologies and guitar-related "toys."
He told me stories of how he sat up all night writing
songs, drinking wine, and recording licks onto his home
studio DAT recorder. Bresh's home is so full of gadgets
that Buster B. Jones calls it "Guitarville".