Chet book project

Discussion of history's greatest guitar player.

Chet book project

Postby mark reinhart » Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:05 am

I’ve been a regular visitor to the Chetboard for quite a few years now, and I've put up a post on the board every now and again during that time. The reason I am writing this post is because I am an author, and I am in the early planning stages of writing a book about Chet.

Let me tell you a bit about myself and my Chet book idea. My books ABRAHAM LINCOLN ON SCREEN and THE BATMAN FILMOGRAPHY have been published by McFarland and Company, a highly respected academic publisher located in Jefferson, North Carolina. Just recently, I approached them about doing a book on Chet, and they really liked the idea. You might wonder how I got from Lincoln to Batman to Chet – well, all three are lifelong heroes of mine. (Of course, Batman is the odd one out here since unlike Lincoln and Chet, he is fictional!)

In addition to being an author, I have worked most of my life as a singer/guitarist in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio. My Dad (also a guitarist) introduced me to Chet’s music when I was a young boy, and I’ve been an avid fan for well over 40 years now! It’s funny, even though I am a guitarist and a lifelong Chet fan, I am not an accomplished fingerstyle player – most everything I do on a guitar I do with a flatpick, usually accompanying my own singing. But though my style (and level of talent!) is far removed from Chet’s, I have remained a close student of his life and music.

Not too long ago, I had an idea for a book about Chet that has never been done before – and here is that idea. I want to write a book that provides a detailed catalog of Chet’s most successful and influential recorded works. That catalog would cover over 50 years of guitar technique, recording technology, and a blending of musical styles, and end up telling a story that is truly unmatched in the history of modern music. I envision the book being titled CHET ATKINS: THE GREATEST RECORDED WORKS OF MISTER GUITAR, and after a few introductory chapters, it would give release information, production history and analysis of Chet’s greatest recordings. My first estimate puts the list of songs that would be in the book at around 150 – so I would very much be picking the cream of the crop in order to illuminate Chet’s greatness.

Here’s a few things that the book would NOT be. It would not be any kind of in-depth personal biography. It would not be a guitar instruction book – though I would discuss certain elements of guitar technique, though the book would be much more about listening to Chet than it would be about studying up to play like him. And it would not be about his work producing other artists – I feel that Chet’s admirers around the world, myself included, are far more interested in what Chet accomplished as a performer than what he accomplished as a producer.

I want to see a book that will follow Chet from “Guitar Blues (Picking the Blues)” through “Main Street Breakdown,” “Country Gentleman,” “Mister Sandman,” “Walk Don’t Run",” “Windy and Warm,” “Freight Train,” “Yakety Axe,” “Blue Angel,” “Black Mountain Rag,” “Snowbird” – well, I’m sure you get the idea! Let me just say that I would like the book to be kind of a literary version of the 150-song CHET ATKINS’ GREATEST HITS collection that I dream of having in my CD collection, one that goes all the way from the just-mentioned “Guitar Blues” up through songs like “Jam Man.”

I've already been in contact with Tom, our wonderful site host, to let him know about this book idea. And now I’m letting all of you know about this project because given this website's close association with Chet and his legacy, I am hoping bounce ideas regarding my project off of everyone on the board from time to time. I'm especially interested in discussing just which of Chet's recordings will end up in the book with all of you -- I'm no slouch when it comes to knowing about all of the phases of Chet's storied career, but I don't want the book to be tied down to just my own personal tastes.

Thanks for sticking with this long post, and I look forward to keeping in touch with all of you during this project!
mark reinhart
 
Posts: 70
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:13 pm

Re: Chet book project

Postby ajbremer » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:13 pm

It would be neat to know the 150 tunes that you'll be using. Are you the one who decides which 150 tunes are the best? It would be cool to take a poll here on this forum where we all input our top 25 and then maybe that'll help you with choosing the best tunes. THis sounds like it'll be another great book about Chet...I'd buy it for sure!
ajbremer
 
Posts: 162
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:11 am

Re: Chet book project

Postby mark reinhart » Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:48 pm

I love that idea! Before too long, I'll start a new thread asking if anyone would be interested in giving me a list of their 25 all-time favorite Chet recordings. And I'll make sure that anyone who shares their list with me gets listed in the book's acknowledgments!
mark reinhart
 
Posts: 70
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:13 pm


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