Kings of Strings all the way!
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Try Rolling Stone top 500
Or "besteveralbums' dot com
For Rock suggestions. If they list it in the top few hundred.. Well a LOT of fols like it.
You canalso browse music lists of other folks over at Amazon.
For Jazz and Rock you can browse AllMusicGuide dot com and search by artits and read bios, reviews of music.
Chet did what he did best, play guitar and produce music. He was not a songwriter. Didn't need to be. But he's one stop shopping for fantastic and accessible instrumental interpretations of many tunes by many artists. One of the most listenable and "musical" artists ever IMHO.
Been looking to dig into some Merle Travis in the near future as well. He was a big influence on Atkins and many a guitar player as well.
I've read about Tommy Emmanuel but not familiar with his music though. I need to check him out.
The thing with Chet Atkins, beyond his technical playing ability, is his ability to make the guitar communicate. When I listen to him versus other similar pickers/players, it just seems more musical in accordance with the thread topic. He also has an uncanny ability to make the notes he is playing extra special as a regular part of what he does. His success as a music producer is undoubtedly related to this aspect of his talents as well. He was also an exceptional human being and a great role model for all by all accounts and based on my recollections.