Nov. 11: Don Gibson (1928-2003) wrote so many killer songs — including “Sweet Dreams,” “Oh, Lonesome Me,” “(I’d Be) A Legend In My Time,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” And this one, which hit the top of the charts in 1958. However, it’s not for Gibson that we highlight this song today. It’s for Hank Garland, perhaps the greatest guitarist ever to be based in Nashville. He plays on this clip, and I thought it would be nice to see him in action on what would have been his 79th birthday.

Guitarists know Hank Garland, even if the general public does not. He might have received the wide acclaim of a Les Paul or a Chet Atkins, had he not been badly hurt in a 1961 car wreck. That ended his 15-year career, which included notable session work for Red Foley (“Sugarfoot Rag,” the vocal version of the song Garland wrote and recorded when he was 16), Elvis Presley (“Big Hunk O’Love,” “Little Sister”), Patsy Cline (“I Fall To Pieces”) and many others. But perhaps more important to his reputation among guitarists was his “hillbilly jazz,” exemplified in albums released in his name like Jazz Winds From A New Direction.

(This video is a clip from the Country Style, USA series of U.S. Army recruiting films produced about 50 years ago by Owen and Harold Bradley. Garland was the house guitarist, which is why he’s playing here and not Atkins, who took the lead part on the Gibson record.)

Learn more about Garland (1930-2004) at Allmusic.com. Click the tabs for his bio, the albums he recorded under his own name, and a massive list of albums he appears on as a session musician. Meanwhile, stay tuned for a future 3 Chords a Day installment that WILL focus on Country Music Hall of Famer Don Gibson.

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