Watch the Mr Guitar: 8 online guitar lesson by Tommy Emmanuel from Certified Gems, Vol. 1
Mr. Guitar, as a lot of you may know, was the great Chet Atkins' nickname. He was always introduced as, “Mr. Guitar, Chet Atkins”. I heard that a million times, listening to recordings, radio programs and television shows.
Back in the 90’s when Chet and I were communicating a lot, I would make trips to Nashville to work with him, hang with him and to learn from him. It was during that period that I came to Nashville and played a part of a country music showcase and Chet came down to the show and brought the record company down. As he said after the show, “we were all suitably underwhelmed.” That was his way of saying they had a good time.
It wasn't long after that meeting that I got a call from him in my home back in Australia. He calls and says, “Well, these Columbia people like the thought of us working together, would you like to record an album?”
That was the moment that I'd been waiting for all my life, that phone call! And I said yes, is there a mustache in Mexico? Does a one legged duck swim in a circle? After I put the phone down and tried to calm myself down, I set about to write this song. Ten minutes later I call Chet back and I say “Chief, I've written you a song. Have a listen to it.” So I got my daughter, Amanda, who was only very small in those days, to hold the phone to the guitar and I played it to him from my bedroom in Melbourne, Australia to Chet's house in Nashville. And at that moment my wife took a photo of that moment and when I came over to make the album I gave him this photo. And I said, “You see this moment? That's the moment I played Mr. Guitar to you over the telephone”. He took that photo and put it on his refrigerator and it was there until the day he died.
Mr. Guitar is a very inspired work as you can imagine and I tried to write it in a way that was true to his legacy to me and the roots of my guitar playing. So here it is; Mr. Guitar - lovingly dedicated to the great Chet Atkins.