Steve Wariner Considers Himself a Musician First

He Cites Dottie West, Chet Atkins as Mentors

Before he established himself as a major label recording artist or an award-winning songwriter, Steve Wariner worked as a sideman, touring with the likes of Chet Atkins, Bob Luman, and Dottie West. Those seminal experiences shaped an enduring career that would lead to his own string of hits, including “Holes in the Floor of Heaven,” “Some Fools Never Learn,” and “The Weekend.”

Known as a musician’s musician, Wariner has collected four Grammys in his career due to collaborations with Asleep at the Wheel, Vince Gill, Mark O’Connor, Brad Paisley, and Ricky Skaggs, among others. A Grand Ole Opry member since 1996, the good-natured Indiana native invited to his home studio to chat the earliest days of his career.

CMT: I want to start by asking about the Musicians Hall of Fame. Why is that honor special to you?

SW: I think because it really brings me full circle. I know that’s real cliché, but it really does. I came here as a teenager, I wanted to play music, I wanted to play in somebody’s band. I had a job when I came here working for Dottie West. I met her in Indiana and she brought me here. So it really brings me back full circle to being what I started to do in the first place — to be a musician and come here to Music City.

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