For three evenings on April 5-7, 2012, one of country music’s stalwarts met culture at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville as Steve Wariner performed both his hits and his tribute to Chet Atkins with the Nashville Symphony.
Upfront, I must let you know my bias toward Steve. I first met Steve about ten years ago through his work with JDRF where he and his family have worked countless hours through the years. Though I am not a true country fan, Steve gets a head start with me purely from his JDRF work and our relationship through the years.
I have long been a fan of combining mainstream music with symphonies. My first exposure was a Moody Blues show in Nashville. Hearing rock music combined with symphony music proves that music is music – it just depends on how it is arranged. Through the years, I have heard the likes of Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Styx play with symphonies and the music was incredible. Friday night was no exception for Steve.
Chet Aktins was Country Music back in the day, both behind and in front of the microphone. It has long been documented that Steve played in Chet’s band before he launched his solo career and was one of a select few to have the “cgp” (certified guitar player) designation bestowed upon him by Chet. Steve put out a Chet Atkins tribute a couple of years ago and his gig with the Symphony was to showcase that CD.
The symphony started with four rousing numbers by composers with a lot of vowels in their last name and were obviously not from Cheatham County. Steve walked out with just his guitar and began playing. The first part of the set list was devoted to his hits. Also, did you know that Steve wrote and performed the theme song to TV’s “Who’s The Boss”? I didn’t, but he performed that song as well. Then he played several songs from the Chet tribute album, pausing in between to tell stories about Chet or his wife Leona. During this section, there were pictures of Chet showing behind the stage. He showed why he earned that “cgp” designation. Combine Steve’s playing and singing with the symphony and the result was some beautiful music. Here is the set list for the evening (songs from My Tribute to Chet Atkins are in italics):
- Life's Highway
- The Weekend
- Brand New Life – Theme song from “Who’s The Boss”
- Holes in the Floor of Heaven
- Reeding Out Loud
- Blue Angel
- Leaving Luttrel
- Producers Medley
- Chet’s guitar
- I’m Already Taken
- If I Didn’t Love You
- Encore – The Flower that Shattered the Stone
After the show, Steve signed copies of his CD in the lobby and mingled with attendees. Country did indeed meet culture that night and the result was a resounding success.
Zach, A Cultured Tennessee Squire