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When I was in high school I had just one dream: to come to Nashville and play in the Grand Old Opry - to play with Bill Carlisle or someone like that.

At that time "the solemn old Judge" George D. Hay held auditions every Wednesday afternoon about 2 o'clock. One week I came down with a friend of mine, I guess school was out that day.

Back then they had a studio called "Studio C" at the corner of 5th and Union. At the same time in Studio C they held rehearsals for the Prince Albert Show, which was a network show on Saturday nights at 9 o'clock, and of course Chet was on that show.

There were a number of people the solemn old judge was auditioning that day and when it came time for me to play he said "Son, I've got just 5 minutes left" I was a dumb kid of course, and I said my guitar and amp were down in the car and he said "well I don't have time for you to go get it." Well Chet was on break and he was standing out in the hallway and he overheard the conversation and he came up to me and said "you can borrow my guitar and rehearse on it if you want". Of course, that scared the hell out of me! Chet went back into the studio and got his amp - I think it was a little Fender Deluxe. He brought it out along with his guitar which was a Gretsch Round Up - Chet's guitar was the one that he is playing on those Video Grand Old Opry Shows you see on TV. He plugged it all in and handed it to me and walked away.

I played a couple tunes and after I was done George D. Hay said "Well son, we'll call you" but I knew that he wouldn't. But I didn't really care anymore because I got to meet Chet and play his guitar. Chet doesn't remember that day but it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. It gave me so much encouragement.

- Paul Yandell

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