Merle Travis

Merle Robert Travis (November 29, 1917 – October 20, 1983) was an American country and western singer, songwriter, and guitarist born in Rosewood, Kentucky, United States.[1] His songs' lyrics often discussed both the lives and the economic exploitation of American coal miners. Among his many well-known songs are "Sixteen Tons," "Re-Enlistment Blues," "I am a Pilgrim,"[2] and "Dark as a Dungeon." However, it is his unique guitar style, still called Travis Picking by guitarists, as well as his interpretations of the rich musical traditions of his native Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, for which he is best known today. "Travis Picking" is a syncopated style of guitar fingerpicking rooted in ragtime music in which alternating chords and bass notes are plucked by the thumb while melodies are simultaneously plucked by the index finger. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1977.[1]

Merle Travis
Merle Travis and his Gibson Super 400 at the Country Music Hall of Fame
Background information
Birth nameMerle Robert Travis
Born(1917-11-29)November 29, 1917
Rosewood, Kentucky, U.S.
DiedOctober 20, 1983(1983-10-20) (aged 65)
Tahlequah, Oklahoma, U.S.
GenresCountry, Western swing, blues, folk, gospel, Americana
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Instrumentsguitar
Years active1936–1983
LabelsKing, Capitol, CMH