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Play Your Guitar, Cowboy!

Did you know that the month of April is the International Guitar Month? To observe this worthy occasion, I am writing today about some cowboys and would-be-cowboys with guitars.

Rock-n-roll has its guitarist hall of fame (hey, Jimmy Hendrix!), so I got wondering whether anyone came up with a similar list for country musicians. After all, if we think of a cowboy and he is not on a horse, we'll probably picture him strumming on his guitar. After a bit of research, I've found that almost everyone and their brother - Bobby Bones included - tried to put together some kind of list of best country music guitarists. Whose opinion to trust? So, instead of randomly picking one, I decided to go with those in the know: Nashville "Cats."

Bluegrass Music News Network interviewed several Nashville pros, and here is a short version of their list of best pickers of all time.

  1. Hank Garland - from an early age of 15 until a car accident in 1961 robbed him of much of his skill, he was the undisputed top guitarist in Nashville circles.
  2. Grady Martin - he was a consummate guitarist who could play anything. He and his skill defined the styles on Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty recordings.
  3. Chet Atkins - he had been called the "architect of the Nashville Sound" and a brilliant innovator when it comes to his instrument.
  4. Jerry Reed - he actually came into Nashville as a songwriter, but is remembered as one of the most original guitar players that city had seen.
  5. James Burton - dubbed "one of the fathers of twang," he stood at the crossroads of hillbilly, rock, R&B, and swamp, bringing his distinctive style to any kind of music and making it work.

So, how are you celebrating the International Guitar Month? I'm going to go listen to some more Chet Atkins, and here is a little snippet for you too.

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