Updated: Feb 18, 2022
Why him? Why did David Schnaufer spend years writing to Chet Atkins during the seventies--out of all the important music movers and shapers in Nashville--why did David work so hard to convince Atkins that Nashville needed to acknowledge and embrace the mountain dulcimer?
One program host described Atkins as a master guitar player: he could play anything from flamenco to country to Bach. Chet could do a concert with a symphony orchestra one week, and on the Grand Ol' Opry the next. Not for nothing do people think of him as "Mr. Guitar".
Substitute "dulcimer" for guitar, and who does that sound like? David knew intuitively that Atkins was a kindred spirit. Eventually, they resonated in person. By the time David was first making big waves in Nashville, Chet Atkins was volunteering to play gratis on his records.
If you don't know what a badass Atkins was in his time, check out this video of him on the Johnny Cash show. I'm not sure of the year, but they both look about the age they would have been while David was writing and calling, hoping to get Atkins' ear so he could convince him of the wonders of the dulcimer.