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    Travis, Merle Robert (29th November 1917-20th October 1983)

    He was an American country & western musician and singer-songwriter born in Rosewood Kentucky.  He was raised in the coalmining Muhlenberg County and became interested in the guitar when he was young, playing one made by his brother.  His main inspiration and influence was Mose Rager, from whom he learned how to develop his own guitar picking technique.  He was also influenced by Ike Everly who was the father of Don and Phil.  He performed with bands such as Drifting Pioneers before working with artists including Hank Penny and Grandpa Jones.  After having been in Cincinnati, he moved to Hollywood where he worked on radio shows and recording sessions and was signed to Capitol Records in 1946.   He had hits with songs that included "Steel Guitar Rag" and "Sweet Temptation".  He wrote "Sixteen Tons" which was a million-selling hit for Tennessee Ernie Ford and "Dark as a Dungeon" among many others.  Married several times, he was apparently involved in several violent incidents in California due to his excessive drinking and suffered severe stage fright.  One of the main followers of his guitar picking style was Chet Atkins who had first heard him in 1939.  He appeared in the film From Here to Eternity playing "Re-enlistment Blues".   The singer Glen Travis Campbell was named in his honour.   He died of a massive heart attack at his home in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.  He was 65.  The city of Drakesboro has a fountain that honours the "four legends": Merle Travis, Mose Rager, Chet Atkins and Ike Everly.  His son, Thom Bresh, currently plays using his father's style.



    Gene Autry Recordings

    Nine Little Reindeer (Gene Autry, Johnny Marks and Merle Travis)             



    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merle_Travis






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