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Robert Anderson
Fingerstyle Guitarist, Robert Anderson, was born on October 30th, 1957, in Maryville Tennessee to Jesse and Edna Mae Anderson. His older sister, Janie, bought him his first real guitar at the age of eight. It was about this time when he first heard Chet Atkins, playing “Say It With Soul” on the radio. 

Not coming from a musical background didn’t necessarily prove to be a handicap for Robert, who is, in his own words, a “Self-Taught Player.” The influence of Atkins’ fingerstyle guitar playing becomes readily apparent when Robert begins to play. Many experts in the field have likened Robert’s tone and technique, truly to that of Mr. Atkins. 

His musical ability grew very rapidly so that in 1979 and 1980, Robert taught fingerstyle guitar at Tommy Covington’s Music Store in Maryville, TN. Then for reasons that he’s not even sure of, Robert didn’t play much at all for a seven year period from 1980-87. 

In late 1987, he joined with a Southern Gospel group called The Joyful Sound. They toured the Southeast until about 1992. From then until August 1998, he played little anywhere except at home. 

However, one day while in a local music store called (Broadway Sound), located in Knoxville, Tennessee, he was invited to a jam session on a Tuesday night by a member of the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society who just happened to be in the local music store. Not playing at first and letting the boyhood shyness take over, he waited for a while before taking his guitar out of the case. Finally, after playing a few of Atkins’ tunes, he was given a thumbs up welcome, and strongly encouraged to join the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society; something he had wanted to do for some time but didn’t know how to contact any club members. 

In August of 1999, Robert entered the Home of The Legends International Thumb and Fingerstyle Guitar Contest in Kentucky, and came in second place. He entered again in August 2000 and took first place for the championship in the thumb and fingerstyle class, as well as the open style division. Almost immediately his first cd project was created, titled, ""The World of Fingerstyle Guitar"". A dream came true!

Then, a short while thereafter, Robert’s life long dream finally came true! He met some of Chet’s family which included a younger sister named Billie Rose, and his grand niece named Meagan Taylor. They first met in Luttrell, TN at a bond fire for an outdoor gathering of picking and fellowship. They asked Robert if he would like to come to Nashville to meet Chet and play for him. He could hardly believe this was happening!

So, the call came for Robert to come to Nashville, and off he went. After arriving, thinking to himself, he wondered if he would be able to play for the maestro, “Mr. Guitar” himself, because a life long dream had come true. Not knowing how Chet would react to the east Tennessee native from the Smoky Mountains, Chet just smiled and gave Robert a listening ear as he sat there and played for him, applauding ever so often. “Wow, he thought, dreams do come true!”

On two separate occasions about six to eight months before Chet passed away, Robert was asked to come down and spend some time with Chet and play for him. Chet must have dearly loved these two visits, for after it was getting late and he was asked if he was ready to go home, he just looked at Robert and his guitar and smiled as if to say, “Keep playing!” One would suppose that Chet was probably remembering back thru the years to when he recorded and played those same tunes as well. 

Chet spoke very highly of Robert’s ability to play music and that Robert was able to connect with him thru his playing. With Chet’s grandniece Meagan there, and yearning to increase her knowledge of the guitar, Chet was nearly to the point of not helping her due to some health problems. So, Robert offered his help with the knowledge that he had learned down thru the years from listening to Chet. Strongly encouraging the union between Robert and Meagan, the two now travel and play shows together, which led to his next cd project, "Carryin' On". Roberts’ latest cd, all solo acoustic, is almost finished.

His next dream is to travel and play guitar for the people of this world, bringing much joy and life to everyone he possibly can. Robert says he only wants to give back the things that he has learned in the most humble way in hopes that his guitar playing will have an affect on someone’s life the same way that Chet’s music affected his life. Robert's motto, sincere devotion along with hard work and practice on an instrument that you love to play, is a very rewarding experience when someone pays you back with a nice smile.

In addition to Chet Atkins, his other musical tastes are DJango Reinhardt, Lenny Breau, Jerry Reed, Les Paul, Earl Klugh, and one of the founding fathers of thumb and fingerstyle guitar, Merle Travis. This is certainly what the guitar player world will be hearing more of in the near future. Aside from playing monthly shows in some area cafes, he’s on the road quiet a bit playing in Nashville, Atlanta, and sometimes Ohio. Robert has come to the point of being a regular performer at the CAAS Convention held annually at the Music City Sheraton in Nashville, TN where a lot of the best players in the world attend, paying tribute and honor to Mr. Guitar, Chet Atkins. 

In September of 2000, he was invited to perform at the famous Everly Brothers Homecoming in their hometown of Central City, KY., an outdoor event which always has crowds in access of around 15,000 people. Robert likes small venues to play at as well because he likes to be able to communicate with as many people as possible. Unlike large venues, this is sometimes hard to do. Robert’s soft spoken down- to- earth personality, an ability which many players would envy, is purely natural for this Tennessee native. Other venues where Robert has been featured are PBS channel 2 - Riders of the Silver Screen Show, WATE TV6 - Good Morning TN Show, WBIR TV10 - The Live At 5 Show, and WBIR TV10 - The Heartland Series.
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