The Chet Atkins statue was unveiled today in the courtyard of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, where it will continue to welcome visitors and music enthusiasts who wish to honor Atkins' contribution to music and get their photo taken with the statue.
The city of Nashville has recently witnessed the relocation of the celebrated statue of music legend Chet Atkins from its long-standing position on Union Street to a new spot at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.
An unveiling ceremony was held to day to commemorate the new location.
To kick things off, Dave Pomeroy, bass player and president of the Musicians Union spoke warmly of the significant mark Chet Atkins had left on Nashville in his work in producing records and leading Nashville labels to create the distinctive ‘Nashville Sound'.
Not only an observer of Atkins' influence, Pomeroy himself was a collaborator on Atkins' TV special “Read My Lips,” a platform that also showcased talents such as Steve Wariner, Eric Johnson, Earl Klugh, and Johnny Gimbal. He recalled standing alongside Atkins in 2000 when the musician's statue was first revealed to the world.
Pomeroy commented that “he (Chet) never stopped playing and always encouraged those whom he admired. He mentored countless musicians including Steve Wariner, Pat Ferguson and many more. Pomeroy also recognized the steadfast dedication of Joe and Linda Chambers, stating that “without the years of dedication and hard work by Joe and Linda Chambers, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum would not exist.”
Following Pomeroy, the baton was passed to Linda Chambers, the CEO and President of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. She expressed her honor and privilege in safeguarding Chet's legacy saying that “we are honored to be able to save and relocate Chet and helping preserve history is our privilege. We are proud to bring Chet home to be with his fellow musicians here at the Musicians Hall of Fame.
An exciting announcement was made: Jonathan Russel, Atkins' grandson, had gifted Chet's car to the museum, creating a tangible piece of history for all to enjoy. It now sits in the museum for the public to see.
Speaking after Linda was long time friend and collaborator of Chet Atkins, Steve Wariner. Steve had the honor of unveiling the statue. Touchingly, Steve read a quote from Duane Eddy who couldn't be at the ceremony. Quoting Eddy, Steve said “I'm terribly disappointed not to be here with all of you to welcome Chet's statue to the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. Chet surely belongs here with his fellow musicians who loved and cherished him. I want to thank Linda Chambers and her wonderful family for making this happen. I only wish Joe could have seen this.”
Steve entertained the crowd with two acoustic songs sitting on the stool next to Chet's statue. In a surreal and unique Nashville experience, it felt as though Steve was once again sharing a stage with Chet Atkins.
Sharing the sentiment was Ray Stevens, who affirmed, “Chet doesn't belong in front of a bank. He's home, here at the Musicians Hall of Fame.” His words seemed to encapsulate the room's collective feeling: “Welcome home, Chet.”
In May, Nashville residents were caught by surprise when the much-loved statue, which had been a prominent part of the city landscape since 2000, was suddenly removed from its usual place. The Bank of America had originally installed the bronze tribute at the corner of Union Street and Representative John Lewis Way, commemorating Atkins' significant role in establishing the distinctive Nashville sound.
The statue was frequented by locals and tourists who often paused for photos with this iconic symbol of Nashville's rich musical heritage. However, due to the property's recent sale and the subsequent plans for renovations, it became necessary to find a new home for the Atkins tribute.
The statue's future was secured when the new property owners reached out to Linda Chambers, CEO and President of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, who enthusiastically agreed to host the tribute within the museum grounds.
Notably, Atkins and Joe Chambers, the founder of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, were close friends, adding a layer of personal connection and significance to the statue's relocation.
The relocation of the Atkins statue to the Musicians Hall of Fame ensures its continued role as a beloved icon of Nashville's musical legacy. It reinforces the city's ongoing dedication to honoring its rich history of music and its influential figures. The relocated statue invites a new generation of visitors to engage with the legacy of Chet Atkins and the Nashville Sound.
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