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Saturday, March 13 at 10 p.m. – Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player

(Rochester, NY) On May 15, 1987, a group of A-list musicians gathered to celebrate the enormous influence that guitarist and producer Chet Atkins had on their lives and careers. Taped before a studio audience at Neeley Auditorium on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, the star-packed Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player, airing Saturday, March 13 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11), includes performances by Atkins with Mark Knopfler, the Everly Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Michael McDonald and a band of Music City’s finest players.

The concert has been the talk of legend — the recording and video have long been sought-after by guitar aficionados and music collectors. By the first notes of “Deep Thumb Blues,” it’s easy to see why. Recorded just blocks from the famed Music Row that he’s largely credited with creating, Atkins gives the audience a master class in playing and performing. A parade of country and pop greats follows the opening number, beginning with Knopfler, who performs “I’ll See You in My Dreams” and the Dire Straits classic “Walk of Life.” The Everly Brothers continue the classics with a medley of hits: “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” “Bye Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie” and “Why Worry.” Harris, McDonald (who also plays keyboard with the house band), Jennings, Nelson and David Pack join Atkins until the finale of “Corrina, Corrina.”

Atkins, who passed away on June 30, 2001, referred to himself as “Chet Atkins, CGP.” CGP stands for Certified Guitar Player, an honorary degree that Atkins bestowed upon only the most worthy pickers. Just five were ever given the honor: Jerry Reed, Steve Wariner, Tommy Emmanuel, John Knowles — and Chet Atkins.

Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player features:

  • “Deep Thumb Blues” – Chet Atkins
  • “I’ll See You in My Dreams” and “Walk of Life” – Atkins and Mark Knopfler
  • “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” “Bye Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie” and “Why Worry” – Atkins and Everly Brothers
  • “Precious Memories” – Atkins and Emmylou Harris
  • “Waltz for the Lonely” – Atkins
  • “I Keep Forgettin’” – Atkins and Michael McDonald
  • “Rose in Paradise” – Atkins and Waylon Jennings
  • “Good Hearted Woman” – Atkins, Jennings and Willie Nelson
  • “Island in the Sea” – Atkins and Nelson
  • “Sunrise” – Atkins and David Pack
  • “Imagine” – Atkins and Knopfler
  • “I Still Can’t Say Goodbye” – Atkins
  • “Corrina, Corrina” – Atkins and guests

Pictured: This star-packed concert includes performances by Chet Atkins (pictured) with Mark Knopfler, the Everly Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Michael McDonald and a band of Music City’s finest players.

Credit: Melodie Gimple ©Hackney and Kewley Television, Inc.

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