Almost Alone (Sony, 1996)
Reviewed by Chuck Hamilton
Some music makes you want to get up and dance. Some music makes you want to grab a 12-pack and drown your sorrows. With a Chet Atkins album however, you might want to just pour a glass of wine, sit by the fireplace, and kick back. And like a nice Chardonnay, Atkins' songs go down smoothly, revealing some complexities along the way. His new CD is no exception. As the title suggests, this is mostly a solo effort with an occasional keyboard, string section, fiddle and rhythm guitar. The album includes a variety of songs from Jerry Jeff Walker's "Mr. Bo Jangles" to Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek," but one of the best is a self-penned country number, "Maybelle," a tribute to Mother Maybelle Carter. As a whole, the album's not pure country but definitely pure Atkins, a guy in his 70's seemingly getting better with age.