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Chet Atkins and the Sound of Ideas

By Chris Halka

Above one stop on the musical journey: The M7s in 2002 (From left to right Cousin Victor, Pooch, Sticks and Halka)

Chet Atkins once said that, “it takes a lot of devotion and work if you love it”; that’s what it amounts to, because the general attitude today is one of instant gratification; but it really takes years of keeping at it if you are really going to do it right, and a lot of people just don’t want to take the time to work on it and see where it’s all going, where it might come from, and what it might lead to. Others may have had the general idea that if I work twice as hard, I’ll get better in half the time. Both these ideas are a man’s flailing against the wind.

The progress on the real path will not come in any other rate other than that which is natural; you can’t live a year in anything but one year’s time. We want reward without work and we want our thinking done for us, or if we don’t understand something right away, many of us cannot be bothered. This attitude demeans the accomplishment of people who are true masters at something.

Pooch understands that something worth having cannot be purchased, copied, or stolen. Pooch has written his own story and dug the things he’s interested in out of the ground for the 40 years that I’ve known him. He has planted seeds throughout his life with family, with friends, at work and in the communities that he has nurtured.

40 years ago Pooch and I were joined, separate but parallel along the path, in our quest for human connection; we both focused on the spirit of music and what music can do. Much like Pat Martino the great jazz guitarist once said, “when I sit down with the guitar, it’s not because I want to master a technique-- it’s because I want to hear what an idea sounds like”. The guitar has afforded both of us the ability in our own imperfect way to form a friendship, make a connection, and hear what ideas sound like.


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