was played on an electric guitar. “Black Mountain Rag” became the biggest selling country instrumental of the decade, copied by aspiring fiddlers across the country.
By the 1950s, Mose Rager’s fling with being a professional entertainer was over, and he returned to Drakesboro where he gave guitar lessons, did some playing with local groups, and took delight in the success of his disciple, Merle Travis. Rager died on May 14, 1985 at the
age of 74.
Photo courtesy of the Merle Travis Estate
If it had not been for Merle Travis, the innovations of Arnold Shultz, Kennedy Jones, Mose Rager, and Ike Everly may have been swallowed up by the dank coal mines of Kentucky. However, when Travis left Muhlenberg County in 1936 to play with Clayton McMichen’s Georgia Wildcats, he was ensuring that the Muhlenberg Sound would be preserved for all time as one of the most popular guitar styles of the twentieth century.
Merle Robert Travis was born on November 29, 1917 in Rosewood in Kentucky’s Muhlenberg County. The Travises were a musical family. Merle was raised in the town of Ebenezer, and took up the five-string banjo at the