Look out. Chet Atkins and Garrison Keillor are together again.
"It's called 'The Sweet Corn Tour,' " says legendary guitarist Atkins. "I don't know what that means. It's something he came up with. I think we should call it 'The Elderly Brothers.' "
"The Elderly Brothers?" retorts Keillor. "No, no. We're both spry and fit and had recent operations and mended and preened for this. We are both in our early eighties but you'd never know it, thanks to eating sweet corn. And we're not talking the sweet corn they sell at stands in Coney Island, which was grown last year. Or the frozen kind you get at grocery stores. No."
And besides, says the sentimental storyteller, "I think sweet corn is one of the greatest pleasures in life."
Atkins and Keillor first toured together about three years ago, soon after Keillor, perhaps best known for his yarns about Lake Wobegon, finished up his successful weekly National Public Radio program, "A Prairie Home Companion."
"I knew his draw and his popularity," says Atkins. "He'd walk onstage and it looked like Jesus Christ had arrived. Those people were awe-struck. They'd heard him for so long. But they'd never seen him.
"I'd shine his shoes," he drawls, "and press his shirts. He's one of my idols."
Atkins's dry Southern humor and Keillor's even drier Midwestern drollery must surely make for a parched evening. Thank goodness Atkins is there to play his guitar, as sweet and delicious as the aforementioned corn.
He'll sing his flashiest hit, "Would Jesus Wear a Rolex on Television?," and he'll tell about his "affair" with Dolly Parton. Or so he says. He'll do "the industrial strength song -- 'I Still Can't Say Goodbye' -- the one about my papa." And he'll do some down-home picking.
"George Bush called the other day," Atkins mentions, so nonchalantly. "Maybe he'll come and request 'Yakety Axe.' Who knows."
Chet Atkins and Garrison Keillor are performing at Wolf Trap tonight at 8:15. Tickets are $15 and $25 and available at TicketCenter or by calling 432-0200.