Chet Atkins– Known as “Mister Guitar,” Atkins was a trailblazer who is widely credited for the creation of the so-called “Nashville Sound.” One of the most influential and best-loved guitarists in the history of the instrument, he became the president of RCA Records and produced many classic country albums. — 1976 studio portrait, Nashville by Jim McGuire
John Prine– Country/folk singer-songwriter originally from Illinois, has achieved critical and commercial success since his move to Nashville in the early 1970s. His grandfather played guitar with Merle Travis, and he took up the instrument himself at the age of 14. He was a postman in Chicago and had served in the military before beginning his musical career. Already a star in Chicago’s folk music scene, he was discovered in a local club by Kris Kristofferson. He is known for his wildly imaginative songs and unusual voice and singing style. His 2006 release “Fair and Square” was awarded the Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album. — 1984 studio portrait, Nashville by Jim McGuire
John Hiatt– Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Hiatt, a rock guitarist, pianist, singer, and songwriter, moved to Nashville in the early 1970s to write songs and to find his musical voice. After his song “Sure as I’m Sitting Here” (recorded by Three Dog Night) became a top 40 hit, he was signed to a recording contract by Epic Records. This portrait was shot just before the release of his first solo album, recorded in 1974. Since then, he has released twenty albums, and his songs have been covered by Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, B. B. King, Joan Baez, and Jimmy Buffet, to cite just a few. *** — 2004 studio portrait, Nashville by Jim McGuire
John Hiatt — 1974 studio portrait, Nashville by Jim McGuire
Emmylou Harris– A Grammy Award-winning country music singer, songwriter, and musician, Emmylou is also a much sought-after backing vocalist and duet partner in addition to her work as a solo artist and bandleader. Since 1968, she has worked with numerous artists, including Ryan Adams, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, and, perhaps most notably, Dolly Parton and Linda Rondstadt. This photograph was shot for the cover of her “White Shoes” album on location at the Tennessee Fine Arts Center at Cheekwood (now the Cheekwood Museum of Art) in Nashville. — 1983 portrait by Jim McGuire
Now a huge star, she started performing as a child, singing on local radio and television in East Tennessee near her family’s home in Locust Ridge in the Great Smokey Mountains. She first performed at the Grand Ole Opry at the age of 13 and came to Nashville for good right out of high school in 1964. Her initial success came as the writer of hit songs for Hank Williams, Jr. and Skeeter Davis, among others. Her own stardom was assured when she was teamed with Porter Wagoner in 1967. She has since established herself in concert performance, movies, and television. The winner of 7 Grammy’s and innumerable other awards, she is a member of the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, as well as the Country Music Hall of Fame. — 1974 studio portrait, Nashville by Jim McGuire
Travis Rivers– A widely traveled figure in the music industry, the Texan managed and produced Nashville-based blues singer, Tracy Nelson in the 1970s and ’80s. (Nelson had been the vocalist for Mother Earth, a San Francisco band of the late nineteen-sixties; Rivers had been the band’s manager.) Over the years, he has helped many other fledgling artists get started, including John Hiatt and Emmylou Harris, and, famously, he was the man, who some years earlier, had driven Janis Joplin from Port Arthur, Texas, to San Francisco. — 1971 studio portrait, Nashville by Jim McGuire
Jerry Jeff & Susan Walker– Originally from Oneonta, New York, where he was born in 1942 as Ronald Crosby—he adopted the stage name “Jerry Jeff Walker” in 1966—he has become an icon in Austin, Texas, since moving there in the early 1970s. “Mr. Bojangles” is, perhaps, his best known work, and it has been recorded by dozens of artists, ranging from Bob Dylan to Nina Simone and Philip Glass to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. After a lengthy series of records for MCA and Elektra, produced after his move to Austin, he gave up on the mainstream record industry and founded his own independent label, Tried and True Music. His wife, Susan, is its president and manager. Jerry Jeff and his work are chiefly associated with the country-rock outlaw scene that also included such artists as Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, and Townes Van Zandt. His birthday bash has become a near-legendary event that attracts top musicians and thousands of fans to Austin. — 1977 studio portrait, Nashville by Jim McGuire
Dale Watson– A Texas honky tonk fixture who has been playing the bars and working on the road for more than 25 years, Austin-based Watson has recorded hundreds of original, hard-core country songs that have also been recorded by other artists. Hank Williams III has dubbed him “the savior of traditional country music.” — 2001 studio portrait, Nashville by Jim McGuire
Dave Dudley– Born David Darwin Pedriska in Spencer, Wisconsin, he is best known for such blue-collar truck anthems as “Trucker’s Prayer” and “Truck Drivin’ Son-of-a-Gun.” In 1963, he had his first hit with “Six Days on the Road”, a never-to-be forgotten truckers’ classic, as well as a Country hit that has been recorded by many artists over the years. He wasn’t just involved in truck-driving songs, but also with other material. (His duet with Tom T. Hall called “Day Drinking” proved this.) However, he is one of the best-known singers of the truck-driving era and came to be regarded as one of the icons in this genre of Country music. During the height of his career, the 1960 -’70s, he had more than Thirty Top 40 Country hits. — 1976 studio portrait, Nashville by Jim McGuire
Marty Robbins– One of the most popular and successful country and western singers of his era, Robbins grew up in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, where, while still a kid he became a huge fan of the legendary singing Cowboys. (Western music remained a constant throughout his 40-year career.) He learned to play guitar while in the Navy during World War II. He returned to Phoenix after the service and established himself locally as a performer and the host of his own radio and, later, television programs. Little Jimmy Dickens, a one-time guest on his television program, recommended him to Columbia Records, leading to his move to Nashville where he became one of the most popular members of the Grand Ole Opry. — 1977 studio portrait, Nashville by Jim McGuire
The Chet Atkins picture is epic…
Beyond. As is Travis Rivers’ sweater, and Dave Dudley’s awesome Pabst jacket.
JP-also forgot how hot Emmylou was back in the day, she still looks great, but super hot in my youth. She almost looks like Keira Knightly in that photo.
YES..The Chet Atkins picture is epic. 
John Hiatt is a great songwriter.
A lot of people have covered ‘Have A Little Faith’ .. one of my favorite versions is by Delbert McClinton.
The Flying Burrito Brothers also have recorded Six Days On The Road, and it sounds fantastic.
Fantastic photos. The most notable for Emmylou of course would be Gram, those two albums still shine.
that Chet Atkins pic has me thinking of Tom Waits…which is always nice
so great! Thank you for posting these.
Love this series of fotos!
Some favorites of mine that were left out… Sam Bush with his electric mandolin, Earl Scruggs, David Bromberg and John Hartford (the best folk musician of all time!)
Just stumbled on your site last week, it’s rad!
I was saving bluegrass crew for their own post, as they are more than deserving.
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