03 May 2010


Documentary on music. Last night while watching a DVD on the life of master guitarist Chet Atkins, I was reminded once more why he is one of my musical heroes. His smooth, relaxed mastery of the guitar is legendary among musicians, a style which became known as "the Nashville sound". In a career that spanned six decades, Chet developed a personal playing style which has been imitated by many, but never surpassed. His playing was as complex as that of the most intricate classical guitar. In addition to being an instrumentalist and vocalist, Chet became a producer in the 1960s, and was influencial in the performing careers of Elvis Presley, Eddy Arnold, the Everly Brothers, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Charlie Pride, Connie Smith, Bobby Bare, Dolly Parton, Jerry Reed, and John Hartford (among many others). Chet had a keen ear for original talent, and his generosity of spirit and personal modesty endeared him to musicians and audiences alike. (I was fortunate to attend one of Chet's concerts, at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, in 1990. The evening was nothing short of magic. Chet's self-deprecating humor and dazzling talent made for a heady mix. He passed away in 2001, and is sorely missed.)

Here are links to two video performances -- the first is a duet with one of Chet's proteges, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, playing Chet's first hit single "Yakkety Axe". The second is also with Mark, playing a medley which shows the instrumental talents of both guitarists.

Astronomy. From NASA's APOD website, a striking image of the sun viewed at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths (that band of the electromagnetic spectrum with wavelengths just shorter than visible light), taken by a camera aboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Check the APOD link for a fuller description of the image.

Politics. Things just keep getting more interesting in Arizona. A friend on Facebook noted that Christ would be arrested in Arizona based on his appearance (a prospect now faced by every non-white resident, unless the law is eventually found to be unconstitutional) -- "swarthy, walking in the desert, no money, no identification papers, long haired." Not to mention being accompanied by a dozen equally swarthy henchmen, all with no visible means of support, all speaking a foreign tongue, and all wearing huaraches (sandals). Kinda makes you think, "Hmmm .... "

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