Among fingerstyle country guitar players, perhaps only Merle Travis can rival Chet Atkins, whose distinctive sound defined an entire generation of Nashville country. Atkins has played an equally important role as a record producer. As RCA's chief Nashville producer in the '50s and '60s, Atkins oversaw sessions for Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Jim Reeves, Don Gibson, and countless others. He was one of the chief architects of the polished country style that came to be known as the "Nashville sound," but his own productions were more tasteful and appealing than those for which the genre is frequently lambasted. Atkins remained active into the '90s, but succumbed to cancer in 2001.