After violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini died in 1840, several violinists claimed to be possessed by his spirit when they performed his violin concerto. I wonder if Chet Aktins has managed a similar supernatural transposition through Ben Hall.
To say this young picker plays like Chet Atkins is an understatement; he channels Chet’s style with an eerie verisimilitude that deﬁes logic. It’s one thing to be able to play the licks, but what Hall does is far more than that – his overall aesthetic and style is a throwback to Chet’s prime.
For his ﬁrst recorded outing, Hall used a trio with Sammy Merendino on drums and Skip Ward on bass. On several cuts, including “Mimi & Me,” he goes solo – no extra-tracks or nuthin’. But even when he does employ drums and bass, the guitar is the focus, as well it should be.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’11 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.