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Muriel Anderson's All Star Guitar Night, always a highlight of the annual NAMM convention in Nashville, was filled with talented musicians, beautiful instruments, and soul-gripping music. The annual event was held at the historic Ryman Auditorium and featured such well-known guitarists as Brent Mason, Phil Keaggy, Victor Wooten, and Junior Brown. This year 's star-studded musical event was a tribute to Chet Atkins, and a benefit the Music for Life Alliance. The show began, fittingly enough, with a film clip of Chet Atkins thumb-picking "Freight Train," one of his most famous melodies.

Throughout the evening, artists shared Chet stories and reminisced about the man that influenced so many artists from all walks and genres of music. A surprise guest, Jerry Reed, presented Chet's sister, Billie Rose Shockley, and Chet's grand-niece, Meagan Taylor, a signed proclamation from Governor Sundquist proclaiming July 19, 2002 Chet Atkins Tribute Day.

A stand-out performance from the All Star Night was from Ben Lacey, a teacher and performer from Lexington, KY, who brought the crowd to a roar with his rendition of a Led Zeppelin tune, which included percussion parts and guitar licks that impressed everyone. Another memorable talent was Phil Keaggy, who is considered one of the 100 greatest guitarists of the 20th century. He incorporated digital playback effects, which he would continually play over and add new rhythms on top of others giving him a unique sound and the audience an amazing performance.

As the night came to a close, all the artists joined together on stage to perform the finale, "The Day The Guitar Pickers Took Over The World." During the song, each musician got their chance to show off their own licks and the signature style that brought them their great success. Chet Atkins, the humble gentleman he was, probably would have shied away from all the credit he was given that night, but would have loved the show regardless.

Muriel Anderson's and Friends' All Star Guitar Night is truly a guitar lovers dream. And even if you weren't a guitarist lover before, you would have become one that night!

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 25 - September 1966
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