mose 1DRAKESBORO, Ky. (4/15/13) – Mention Mose Rager to any guitar thumbpicker worth his weight, and you'll likely get a smile and an acknowledgement that this obscure guitar genius created a whole new sound that lives on today.
 
Saturday, April 13th, 2013, local friends and fans, pickers from several states, and those who just love his totally unique style and sound, joined in to celebrate Mose Rager Day at the Drakesboro City Hall.
 
The man who created his own style of guitar thumb picking, went on to influence the likes of Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, along with literally thousands of others. He was honored with a full day of thumb picking and story sharing about a guitar genius everyone seemed to love.
 
Mary Rainwater, a former neighbor of Rager, told Surfky News that "Mose lived across the street from our family when I was growing up. They were playing all the time, but I was little then, and Momma wouldn't let me go out of our yard. But I do remember there were always plenty of people over there, and they were always playing. It was wonderful to hear."

A monument to Rager sits across from the town courthouse, just a couple of miles from the TVA Paradise plant where Rager once worked at one of his many occupations.
 
One concert goer, Neil Litton, recalled that a man pulled up while Mose was walking down the street. The man asked Mose if he knew where Mose Rager lived. He asked the man what exactly he wanted to see Mose Rager for. 'Well, I just like his pickin', and I wanted to meet him,' the man said. Turns out that man worked for Standard Oil up in Indiana. Mose got that job with Standard Oil with his, guitar, and got a job with TVA with his guitar. He also ran the Drakesboro theatre for a while."

Another fan added that the most simple way to explain the Mose Rager sound is that "you don't need any one to back you up. You just play the melody and then on the offbeats you play your own bass line. It just creates a syncopation back and forth beat that is just beyond any other sound. I've played rock, country, every kind of music and there is nothing else like the Mose Rager sound."
 
Everyone agrees that Mose house was the place to be for guitar picking. But one reason there are few recordings of Mose, according to several who knew him, was the fact he was shy when it came to touring or recording.
 
One fan stated that, "He got lots of offers to tour with people like Grandpa Jones and others, but he was a home body, and a bit shy on stage. They got him to record once at Mach One Studio in Central City, and he was just fine practicing before recording. But the minute that "On Air" light went on, he would almost freeze up. Couldn't play a note. They finally distracted him while someone unscrewed the "On Air" light bulb. Then he played great. I think we all just wish there were more Mose recordings."
 
One younger session musician from Dawson Springs said "this whole area has such a rich history of great musicians. Merle Travis, the Everly Brothers, Mose, John Prine's family and Bill Monroe just down the road in Ohio County. It must be in the water. It's something. I have one of Mose' guitars right here. One of his grandkids was going to take it to Alaska, and I asked if I could have it, because I never knew Mose but I'm very close with his family. Surprisingly they agreed to let me have it. You can feel Mose coming through the guitar sometimes, you really can."
 
The Mose sound is definitely gaining a new generation of followers. One 12-year-old fan from Vincennes, asked for permission to play the Mose Rager guitar, as it leaned against the monument planted here to honor the legendary picker.
 
"This one's for you, Mose." the young boy said.
 
He then sang and played an old Mose Rager favorite, "I am a Pilgrim". This was a fitting song to dedicate to a true pilgrim in exploring and creating a whole new style and sound still inspiring those from 2 to 92.
 
You can view the original performance of this song by Mose himself on the video below.
 

Paul McRee
SurfKY News
Photos by Marilyn Kirtley

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

In Other News...

HCHS Places at State Governor’s Cup Academic Meet

HENDERSON, Ky. (3/30/15) — Congratulations to the Henderson County High School Academic Team for a sixth place overall… Read More

All You Can 'Do'sday Club at Niagara Elementary

HENDERSON, Ky. (3/30/15) — As a part of the Coordinated Approach to Child Health Program recently implemented by the… Read More

Most Read This Week

March 27, 2015 5951

Three Arrested during Execution of Search…

by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
March 25, 2015 5457

Fazoli's, Roses Coming to Madisonville

by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
March 24, 2015 5204

One Dies, Another Injured in Mortons Gap Traffic…

by Deputy Heath Owens
March 25, 2015 5141

Grand Jury Finds No Criminal Wrongdoing in Bean…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 24, 2015 4299

UPDATE: One Injured in Hopkinsville Road Accident

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 25, 2015 4148

Madisonville Man's Living Room Leap Lands Him in…

by Madisonville Police Department / Hopkins County Detention Center

Most Read This Month

March 09, 2015 13934

Multi-Agency Drug Bust Results in $1 Million Meth…

by KSP DESI
March 02, 2015 11653

Madisonville Teen Faces Numerous Drug Charges

by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center

Stories Trending Today

March 30, 2015 3807

Man Charged with Child Abuse After Allegedly…

by Madisonville Police Department
March 30, 2015 2292

Juvenile Arrested for Cruelty to Animals

by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office
March 30, 2015 2094

Two Charged in Bremen Meth Bust

by Sheriff Curtis McGehee
March 30, 2015 1995

Man Charged for Selling Drugs from Red Cardinal…

by Madisonville Police Department
March 30, 2015 1748

Report of Suspicious Man Ends with PI, Meth…

by Madisonville Police Department
March 29, 2015 1295

Huge Turnout Joins to Support Shanice Bean Family

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
March 30, 2015 1061

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - March 30,…

by Madisonville Police Department
March 30, 2015 803

Hopkins County Sheriff's Arrest Reports

by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office
March 30, 2015 637

Easter Cuties Pageant Raises Funds for Shanice…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
March 30, 2015 543

Dawson Springs Police Reports Released

by Melissa Heflin