Posts Tagged ‘Gretsch’

Chet Atkins: The Lasting Influence of “Mr. Guitar”

Monday, December 19th, 2011

The Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player exhibition which opened in August 2011 continues into the summer of 2012. Located in the East Gallery of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, the exhibit pays tribute to one of country music’s most versatile and visionary artists.

Ten years after Chet’s death in June of 2001, interest in him has not faded in the least.  One only needs to see all that is blogged, tweeted, and otherwise posted about him on a daily basis.  Here are a couple recent examples:

“Chet Atkins: The Lasting Influence of ‘Mr. Guitar’” by Craig Havighurst.  Excerpt:

“It’s not that there weren’t solo guitar players before him — but there weren’t that many. Chet took solo guitar to everybody.

Even to this day, young devotees are embracing Atkins’ style. Ben Hall, a 22-year-old from Okolona, Miss., showcased at this year’s convention. Hall uses the tricky right-hand technique that Atkins adopted from Kentuckian Merle Travis and refined in the 1940s and ’50s.

‘It revolves around a bass note,’ Hall says. ‘The fingers … Merle used one, Chet thought Merle was using two. So he used two and three and sometimes a handful of fingers. They play the melody. And there’s famous stories of so many great guitar players along the way who play other styles listening to this and saying, ‘I had no idea that’s one instrument.’ ”

Read the entire story here.

December 2011 issue of Premier Guitar magazine, “Chet Atkins: Country Gentleman,” also by Craig Havighurst.  Excerpt:

“Refinement. It’s a word we’ve come to associate (sometimes incorrectly) with luxury brands and upscale dining. Musically, maybe the term conjures up a string quartet. It’s not what you see emblazoned on welcome signs to little Appalachian Mountain towns like Luttrell, Tennessee.

But to properly consider the career of Chester Burton Atkins, native son of said mountain town, the true meaning of refinement (‘to make improvement by introducing subtleties or distinctions,’ says Webster) could prove more than a little useful. Chet’s not the only small-town kid to become a major-league musician, cultural force, and executive, though few have achieved so much with such humility. But on the guitar, where nails meet strings, Chet stands pretty much alone.”

Read the entire story here.

Chet Atkins Exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Photo by Donn Jones Photography.

Dinah & Fred Gretsch Honored At Georgia Family Business Gala

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Dinah & Fred Gretsch (president and CFO of Savannah’s Gretsch Company respectively) were recently honored at the Georgia Family Business of the Year Awards 20th Anniversary gala. The event was held November 29 at the Cobb Galleria Center of the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly hotel in Atlanta, Georgia.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the awards, notable former honorees were invited to the gala to receive special recognition plaques. This included the Gretsches, who were the recipients of the Cox Century Award in 2007 as part of the Georgia Family Business of the Year program.

The Cox Century Award award recognizes companies that are one hundred years old or more. The Gretsch Company was chosen because of its 129-year history as a family-owned operation, its importance within the worldwide music industry, and its contributions to the Georgia business community. Since receiving the award the Gretsch Company has proudly displayed the Century Award logo on its business correspondence.

For more information on the Cox Family Enterprise Center, visit their website.

Christmas 4 Kids Concert & Gretsch Guitar Auction

Monday, December 5th, 2011

From the Christmas 4 Kids Organizers:

Santa & Mrs. Claus and the Gretsches pictured with a Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar.

This year was the 10th Anniversary of the Charlie Daniels and Friends Concert benefiting Christmas 4 Kids (C4K).  The concert was held on Monday, November 21 at The Ryman Auditorium and was the 10th consecutive sellout event.  With so much to celebrate, the Gretsches sent another amazing guitar to be auctioned off.  This year’s guitar has previously been exhibited at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon, Georgia, as well as at the Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta Airport in a Georgia Music Hall of Fame exhibit.  It has been photographed extensively and admired by musicians and the public alike.

The winning bid went to the Erickson family from Des Moines, Iowa.  They were on their way to spend Thanksgiving with their family and heard about the C4K concert on a Nashville event calendar.  Being avid country music fans, they decided to stop; however, the concert was sold out.  As they were discussing what to do, a gentleman overheard them and offered his tickets to the Ericksons.  Mr. Erickson offered to pay him, but the man said, “Go and enjoy – in the end, it’s all for the kids.”

Cole Erickson happily accepting his family's new Gretsch Guitar.

The Ericksons placed the first bid on the guitar and as the bidding was about to close, checked their status on the list and saw that someone had bid higher than they had.  So, at the last minute, they placed the winning bid.  Fred and Dinah Gretsch presented the Erickson’s son, Cole, with the prized guitar on the Ryman stage.  Clearly, an event this young man won’t forget.  Needless to say, the Ericksons have said that the Christmas 4 Kids concert is going to be a new annual Thanksgiving tradition for the family.

C4K wants to extend their deepest gratitude for the support that the Gretsch Foundation continues to show through their donation of guitars for the concert auctions.  Most importantly, Christmas 4 Kids appreciates Fred and Dinah Gretsch’s personal commitment to the children and their valued friendship.

For more information on Christmas 4 Kids, please visit their website.

For more information on the Gretsch Foundation, click here.

Gretsch Previews New Brooklyn Series at PASIC

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

At this year’s Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), Gretsch Drums provided a sneak peak of the new Gretsch Brooklyn Series drums.  Pictured below in Cream Oyster, this USA-made kit made a huge splash with show attendees.

The Brooklyn Series kits will officially launch in 2012.

New Gretsch Brooklyn Series at PASIC 2011

Stay tuned for more details to come.

Check out Drum! Magazine’s report and video here.

Gretsch Participates in Elmhurst College Homecoming

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

The Elmhurst College campus was bustling with activity as Homecoming 2011 took place from October 14 through 16. Included in the well-organized, nostalgia-evoking weekend were receptions and dinners, theater and musical performances, tours, a football game, and much more.

John Towner (adjunct faculty, sound recording engineer), Fred Gretsch, Peter Griffin Ed.D. (Chair, Music Department), Mike Pinto (adjunct faculty, Director Gretsch Guitar Ensemble & Jazz Lab Band)

Elmhurst alumnus Fred Gretsch was on hand for the festivities and had the opportunity to meet with Peter Griffin, the college’s new music department chair. The two met and discussed some of Griffin’s program ideas and his vision for the music department. Griffin, with 28 years of marching band experience, is now responsible for Elmhurst’s prestigious music program in addition to the school’s annual Jazz Festival which is the second oldest continuously running event of its kind in the nation. In 2012, the Festival will be celebrating its 45th year.

The meeting between Gretsch and Griffin took place in the Sylvia & William Gretsch Memorial Studio which was established 25 years ago by endowment from the Gretsch Foundation for use by students and faculty alike. Fred Gretsch and the Gretsch Foundation have been long-time supporters of both the school’s

John Towner, Mike Pinto, Peter Griffin, Larry Carroll (Executive Director, Center for Professional Excellence), Fred Gretsch, Joel Baer (student), Sean Carolan (student), Matt Richter (student), Owen Szorc (student), Andrew Ecklund (student)

music and business programs. The Foundation has also endowed two ongoing scholarships for music business majors. During the course of the weekend, Fred was also able to visit the school’s aptly-named Gretsch Guitar Ensemble and jazz band.

Aside from being an Elmhurst College alumnus, Fred Gretsch is the owner and fourth-generation namesake of The Gretsch Company. The legendary instruments made by Gretsch have figured highly in the history of jazz with “That Great Gretsch Sound” helping such stellar artists as George Van Epps, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Sal Salvador, Harry Volpe, and Tony Williams. Gretsch guitars and drums are still favored by top jazz artists today, including Bill Stewart, Cindy Blackman, Stanton Moore, and Terry Silverlight.

Established in 1871, Elmhurst College, a nationally-recognized private liberal arts school affiliated with the United Church of Christ, has been preparing students for purposeful lives. The curriculum combines liberal learning and professional preparation to equip students for lifelong learning, service, and achievement. The College offers more than 50 majors and 9 graduate programs. Elmhurst College is considered a national leader in jazz music education.

For more information on Elmhurst College, visit their website.

For more information on the Gretsch Foundation and the Gretsch Company, visit GuitarArt.com and the Gretsch website.

Savannah Folk Music Festival Great Success

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

From the Savannah Folk Music Society–

The Annual Savannah Folk Music Festival began with a huge crowd in attendance at 7 pm on Friday, October 7, in Ellis Square with “FOLKFEST” showcasing Savannah Folk Music Society Members. The large audience, seated all around ELLIS Square and in the courtyard at City Market was entertained with a variety of different styles of music from the many genres that make up folk music. The Old Folkers, Jean Paul and Dominique Carton, Jamison Murphy, Hanson & Amburgey, Michael Maddox and Savannah Folk Music Society President Chris Desa performed for and were applauded by an appreciative audience of local area residents and out of town visitors who enjoyed the show.  The best part was the ticket price . . . FREE.

Chris Desa (left) and Fred Gretsch (right) on WTOC11

On October 5th, Chris Desa and Fred Gretsch were hosted by local TV station WTOC on “Mid-Morning Live” to promote the festival and acknowledge the continued generosity and support of the GRETSCH FOUNDATION, with their donations of guitars for the Noteworthy Art Auction, which is the largest fund raiser for the festival. The entire interview and an abridged version of Chris’s rendition of Chet Aktins’ favorite tune “I Still Can’t Say Goodbye” can be viewed here.

Noteworthy Art and More Auctions

Friday, October 7, and Sunday, October 9 (Ellis Square and Forsyth Park)

All 14 guitars, generously donated by the GRETSCH FOUNDATION were sold at silent auction during the Friday and Sunday events. One brand new playable Gretsch Historic Series guitar, signed by all performers at the Sunday concert, was auctioned and sold on October 9th at Forsyth Park.

Collage Created by Helen Weitz

Additionally, a special multimedia art collage, created by Helen Weitz, was sold to the highest bidder on Sunday.

Saturday Old Time Country Dance:  October 8th

Notre Dame Academy Gym was decorated with numerous colorful quilts in preparation for the Festival Dance, which was again very well attended by nearly 250 people, which also included a newlywed couple (regulars at SFMS dances) and their wedding party. The April Verch Band provided excellent music throughout the evening with veteran dance caller Janet Shepherd relied on to “call” and guide novices and veterans alike through a myriad of contras, squares, waltzes, and circle dances. April also gave the dancers a demonstration of her excellent dancing and fiddle-playing skills.

Sunday Concert at Forsyth Park: October 9th

Despite the threatening inclement weather, due to a developing gale offshore, the Festival began on schedule in Forsyth Park with Four Shillings Short, Boo Hanks, April Verch Band, and Tom Chapin each performing two sets for the benefit of audience members who could attend only a portion of the concert. It was a treat to see longtime fans of the performers position themselves on the grass in beautiful Forsyth Park, with small picnics and lawn chairs facing the band shell. Many others chose the steps in front of the fountain to gain a closer and better view. Every artiste gave a stellar performance to an appreciative and attentive audience scattered all over Forsyth Park

The wind and rain came down in full force for the latter half of the festival when Four Shillings Short and Boo Hanks took the stage for their second set, but many of the “die hard” folk music fans in rain coats and umbrellas stayed put. The remaining devoted audience members were invited onto the stage under the shelter of the band shell, for an up-close-and-personal concert for the second set of The April Verch Band and Tom Chapin.

Overall, the festival was a great success and next year we will be back in our usual location at Grayson Stadium, which was unavailable to us this year due to a previous commitment by the Sand Gnats said Chris Desa. The collective efforts of our SFMS leadership, members, volunteers, and numerous sponsors are greatly appreciated.

Major Festival Sponsors

City of Savannah Leisure Services Bureau:  Dept of Cultural Affairs

The Gretsch Foundation

Portman’s Music Superstore/ Brighter Day Natural Foods / The River-FM 98.7

For more information call (912) 355-7172 or visit www.savannahfolk.org.

Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player Exhibition

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is paying tribute to one of country music’s most versatile and visionary artists, Chet Atkins, with Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player, a biographical exhibit which opened August 12, 2011 and runs through July 15, 2012 in the Museum’s East Gallery.

Get exhibition details and see exclusive online content here. Educational materials for children, families, and teachers recently added!

iPHONE APP AVAILABLE HERE! ANDROID USERS, CLICK HERE.

Schedule of Upcoming Special Programs: (All times are Central and subject to change)

*Sunday, July 15, 1:00 p.m., CDT, Fingerstyle Guitar Demonstration: Brooks Robertson

Oregon-based Brooks Robertson is a composer and arranger in the style of Merle Travis, Jerry Reed, Thom Bresh, and his own mentor, Buster B. Jones. In 2004, Robertson won first place in Prairie Home Companion’s Talent from Twelve to Twenty Contest.

*Sunday, July 15, 2:00 p.m., CDT, Film Screening: Austin City Limits: “Chet Atkins and Friends” (1987)

In this episode of the long-running public television series, Atkins demonstrates his trademark guitar style as well his love of collaboration. His guests include Thom Bresh, Larry Carlton, Johnny Gimble, Peter Ostroushko, Butch Thompson, and the Prairie Home Companion Band. Free.

Past Program Videos/Photos:

Photos from the October 1 concert in salute of Chet by Joe Robinson and Pat Bergeson can be viewed here.

The August 27 concert by Tommy Emmanuel, C.G.P., in salute of Chet Atkins can be viewed online along with photos from the concert.

A video of the August 13 standing-room-only panel discussion with Steve Wariner, C.G.P.; Billy Edd Wheeler; and Paul Yandell, C.G.P., can be viewed here.

Check out photos from the August 10 Opening Reception here.

Fred Gretsch & Randy Bachman Together In Edmonton

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Two Music Greats Meet In The North

Every so often fate aligns to bring major figures in music history together unexpectedly. Such an alignment occurred this past September 26.

Two Icons of The Music Industry: Randy Bachman and Fred W. Gretsch.

It happened when Gretsch Company president Fred W. Gretsch and Canadian rock great Randy Bachman (founding member of The Guess Who) met in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Fred was there—in tandem with Gretsch Guitars product manager Joe Carducci—for the pair’s popular “Fred & Joe Show”, Canadian tour edition. Randy was there to sign copies of his recently released book, Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap Stories.

“The Fred & Joe Show” is the only event of its kind in the music industry. Where else can guitarists and music fans learn about the history of Gretsch instruments, the Gretsch Company, and the Gretsch family—all directly from the man whose name is on the products? The show combines rare film clips and photos with Fred’s personal reminiscences and anecdotes, creating a direct connection between the past, present, and future of Gretsch guitars.

Guess Who Founding Guitarist Randy Bachman (Center, Left) and Gretsch Company President Fred W. Gretsch (Center, Right) are Flanked by Angela Owen and Al Dobish, Owners of Edmonton’s WestEnd Rock Shop.

Over the past four years Fred Gretsch and Joe Carducci have logged thousands of miles, taking their uniquely educational and entertaining presentation to music stores and guitar shops across North America. The Canadian tour included stops at GuitarWorks in Calgary, the Edmonton Fall Guitar Show, and Edmonton’s WestEnd Rock Shop.  These shows were extra special due to the addition of a George Harrison tribute–a traveling exhibit of George Harrison memorabilia commemorating the Gretsch G6128T-GH George Harrison signature Duo Jet guitar.  View more tour pictures.

Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap Stories
features tales and anecdotes taken from Randy’s popular Saturday-night show on Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) radio. Included are stories about making music, discovering new guitar licks, and the often meandering route to achieving commercial success in the music business. Randy’s stories are told with humility and a folksy charm. Though a star in his own right, he describes the euphoria associated with meeting his own music idols, including Gretsch guitar great Chet Atkins. To bring the reader more closely into the musical context of the book, each chapter ends with a suggested playlist, while other individual cuts are referenced throughout.

Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap Stories is full of incredible stories about many of rock’s greatest artists—taken from the memory vault of one of the best-known among them.  Read a review.