Woodsongs: Celebration of Merle Travis

Thursday, July 19 at 11:00 p.m.

Merle Travis

Merle Travis is a Kentucky guitar hero and an American music icon. Born in Rosewood, Kentucky, his lyrics often discussed the life and exploitation of coal miners. Among his many well-known songs are “Sixteen Tons,” “Re-Enlistment Blues,” “I am a Pilgrim” and “Dark as a Dungeon”. However, it is his master guitar playing and his interpretations of the rich musical traditions of his native Muhlenberg County, Kentucky for which he is best known today. “Travis picking”, a syncopated style of finger-picking, is named after him. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1977.

Performing on this broadcast:
Thom Bresh is the son of Merle Travis and a world-class guitar master in his own right. Bresh did not begin his music career until his adult years. From age 3 to age 17, he worked as an actor and one of the youngest stuntman in TV and movies, where such programs as ‘The Lone Ranger’ and the Billy the Kidd trilogy were filmed. Ever since he was old enough to hold a guitar pick, he’s followed the unique fingerpicking style his father made famous, bringing it to new audiences.

Eddie Pennington is one of the true guitar legends from Kentucky in the same tradition popularized by Merle Travis and Chet Atkins.

Parker Hastings is only 15 years old and already is one of Kentucky’s premier thumpicking champions in the tradition of Merle Travis, Eddie Pennington and Tommy Emmanuel.

Katelyn Prieboy is 19 and from Tampa, Florida. She was recently crowned grand champion at Legends Thumbpicking Competition in Muhlenberg County, Ky., in late September.

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