"When I met Chet"
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I first met Chet when I moved to Nashville in 1984. I have always loved his music and he was THE major influence in my life. I was sleeping in my car, and I had no money or food. I found a newspaper with classifieds and saw a job as a booking agent was available. I did not know the first thing about being an agent, but I was not going to tell Johnny Massey that. I got my job at Stars Inc. on Music Row and began to compile info on the artists I would be booking.

The first day Mrs. Massey walked in with a folder that said Chet Atkins on it and I nearly ripped her hand off trying to get it out of her hand. I called over to his office and made an appointment to meet with him and a date was set. In the meantime, I got a call from a drugstore in Nashville that wanted to have Chet come out and do an in-store album promo. The money was really low, I was afraid to even ask him to do it, but I went ahead and pitched it to his office and the response was yes!

I was so happy that I would finally get to meet the man I so admired. I took my first paycheck and rented a limo to pick him up in. I wanted this to be a first class event! I walked up the sidewalk to his office sweating so bad I thought I would die. I was about to meet Mr. Guitar. I went in and asked the secretary if Chet was ready and she said she would get him. He came walking down the steps and I thought I had died and gone to the mecca! Here he was in person, the man I had listened to since I was 7 years old and worn out at least 4 needles on my phonograph trying to figure out how he played those patterns, he was here live before me.

I stuck out a completely soaked and trembling hand and he shook it like an old friend. He asked me if it would be all right for his friend John Knowles to come along to which I replied of course. We then went to the drugstore opening and Chet signed album after album as well as autographs and a guitar. On the way, back he asked if we could take a detour with the limo and we went all over downtown and he told me about the history of Nashville and showed me property that he owned. It was a day I have never forgotten and it all seemed to go by in a wink. We became friends that day and have been every since. He has always given me encouragement and has always been a ear that would listen to my never-ending questions about the music business.

I dedicated every CD I have done to him first because he made me want to play the guitar and be the best that I can be. He taught me what it meant to be a real person and not buy the hype. I am forever grateful to have his friendship and in talking to him a month ago I was able to tell him all that he has meant not only to me but to the world.

I think I speak for everyone when I say that we all love you Chet, and thank you for the gift that you brought to all of our lives, you are as always the true country gentleman and you are loved beyond measure. Thanks for making my life so much deeper and meaningful, your friend,

- Micheal Clair, FOCGP ( friend of Certified Guitar Player)

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