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. 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," 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.
Birth and Death Data: Born November 29th, 1917 (Muhlenberg County), Died October 19th, 1983 (Tahlequah)
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1937 - 1956
Roles Represented in DAHR: guitar, lyricist
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Victor||BS-014056||10-in.||9/12/1937||New steel guitar rag||Bill Boyd ; Cowboy Ramblers||String band, with drums||lyricist|
|Decca||L 9715||11/27/1956||Ruby pearl||Jackie Lee Cochran||instrumentalist, guitar|
|Decca||L 9716||11/27/1956||Dear Mom and Dad||Jackie Lee Cochran||instrumentalist, guitar|
|Decca||L 9717||11/27/1956||For you baby||Jackie Lee Cochran||instrumentalist, guitar|
|Decca||L 9718||11/27/1956||Mama don't you think I know||Jackie Lee Cochran||instrumentalist, guitar|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Travis, Merle," accessed July 29, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105369.
Travis, Merle. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved July 29, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/105369.
"Travis, Merle." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 29 July 2021.
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