To celebrate the everlasting genius of Chet Atkins and 60 years of the Gretsch Country Gentleman ‘Thanks Chet’, the new album by British guitar legend Robbie McIntosh (Paul McCartney, The Pretenders, John Mayer, Tom Jones), is a tribute to the sound that revolutionised rock ’n’ roll as we know it.
Chet and his trademark Country Gentleman bridged the gap between country, pop and rhythm & blues and without him there would have been no Elvis, Beatles or The Rolling Stones; no Led Zeppelin, The Band or REM; no Smiths; no Kings of Leon; maybe not even an Ed Sheeran.
“He was the first guitar hero of modern music,” says Robbie. ‘Chet played finger picking style but with incredible precision and because he was also a great drummer and bassist his guitar was like a band on its own – a real six string orchestra.”
‘Thanks Chet’ finds Robbie recording a new version of the instrumental interlude ‘Robbie’s Bit (Thanks Chet)’ he brought to Paul McCartney’s 1993 world tour. Robbie’s own Country Gentleman can also be heard on The Pretenders’ worldwide smash ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’, which he has re-recorded for the album along with new versions of classics like The Kinks’ You Really Got Me, The Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive, Bonnie Raitt’s beautiful I Can’t Make You Love Me, Kylie’s I Can’t Get You Out of My Head and Danny Kaye’s version of The Ugly Duckling.
A pivotal figure in the history of rock, Chet inspired millions of players the world over, among them superstars such as George Harrison, Duane Eddy, Hank Marvin, Tommy Emmanuel, Mark Knopfler, Johnny Marr – in fact, almost anyone who ever picked up a guitar owes a debt to Chet.
Robbie has recorded and played with some of the biggest names in popular music including Norah Jones, John Mayer, Sir Tom Jones, Mark Knopfler, Talk Talk, Keith Richards, Chuck Berry, Roger Daltrey and Cher, but ‘Thanks Chet’ brings his love of the guitar full circle – right back to where it started with his uncle’s copy of Chet Atkins’ 1964 album ‘Progressive Pickin’’ with its cover shot of Atkins and his trademark Country Gent.