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I first saw Chet at a country music concert in Ft Worth Texas in 1960. I was 17 years old and had just enlisted in the United States Air Force (where I spent the next 36 years). I had started playing Chet's music in 1958 and thought it was the greatest thing ever. During the concert, Chet mentioned that he was going to conduct a workshop the following morning at the Holiday Inn across the street from the concert hall.

I remember showing up at 7:30 a.m. just waiting for the workshop to start. There were about 20 of us who showed up. Can you believe it?! If he held a workshop there today, at least 500 would go to learn and listen!

Anyway, Chet showed up right on schedule, and spent the next four hours talking about the guitar, his music, his life, and everything in between. He answered every question asked of him, and showed great patience in helping us all.

At the breaks, he invited each of us to look at and play his Gretsch Country Gentleman. When he answered a question, it was like you were the only other person in the world.

I can never explain to you how down to earth Chet was then. When I saw him again at CAAS in 1997, I reminded him of that first day I met him in Ft Worth. His reply was: "That was a long time ago wasn't it?"

What an extraordinary person he is. He will never know how much joy he has brought into my life through his great music and style.

- Charlie Rolader

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