Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster

Thumbpickers Unite at Mose Rager Day

ThumbpickerJoeHudsonJoe Hudson, Executive Director of the National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame performed at the 2014 Mose Rager Day in Drakesboro.DRAKESBORO, Ky. (4/15/14) — Mose Rager is a name still unknown to many people outside the world of guitar pickers.

But for thumb picking guitar fans of the reclusive Muhlenberg County legend, Saturday April 12 was a day to celebrate.

The 14th Annual Mose Rager Day included free music, a potluck meal, and stories to share about a man known as much for his humor as he is for his intense passion to share his favorite style of picking.

The Muhlenberg Thumbpicking guitar style is something that Rager indeed loved to share with the likes of Chet Atkins, the Everly Brothers and their father, Ike Everly, and a young Merle Travis, who grew up just down the road from Rager in Ebenezer.

The Mose Rager event was held at the Drakesboro City Hall, where pickers joined together for the annual tradition of picking and sharing stories about this reclusive, often overlooked name in the history of guitar stylists. The event attracted people from throughout western Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee.

Joe Hudson, Executive Director of the National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame, told SurfKY News that the celebration started back in 2000.

"For those unfamiliar with Mose's thumbpicking sound, the easiest way to explain it is to listen to any Chet Atkins album," Hudson said. "Basically, the Mose sound is a sort of boom-chick, boom-chick type of rhythm. The bass line is played with the thumb and that frees your other four fingers for the melody and chords. Mose played a lot with Kennedy Jones, who was also from Muhlenberg County. The story goes that Jones went to a dry goods store in Central City back in the early 1900s and saw a Hawaiian banjo or guitar pick, which had a loop that holds the pick securely on the right thumb. He was told that it was not supposed to be used on a regular guitar. But Jones tried out the pick and liked what he heard. Mose soon picked up the then unheard of picking style and passed it on to Merle Travis, who lived just down the road from him in Ebenezer. Travis passed it on to Chet Atkins and the rest is history."

The Drakesboro City Hall sits in the shadow of the Four Legends Water Fountain, which honors the music of Rager, Jones, Travis and Ike Everly, the father of the Everly Brothers.

Mose-rager-day-tshirt

"This event is much like the Thumbpickers Hall of Fame induction in September, but on a smaller scale," Hudson said. "Last September's Hall of Fame event had about 5 percent of attendees from Kentucky and the rest from others states throughout the nation and a few from Canada."

Rager worked as a barber, at the Paradise TVA plant, and now and then would go on the road with other artists before he passed away in 1986. Unfortunately, the recluse mostly played on his front porch in Drakesboro, happy to share the style with anyone who approached him. However, Rager rarely recorded.

"There may be an album's worth of actual recordings out there now," Hudson said. "I don't think he ever actually recorded an album per se."

Danny Rich, of Central City, knew Rager, and helped to record the studio shy guitar genius at Cardinal Studios.

"The only way to get Rager to play with the microphones around was to take the light bulb out of the 'On Air' sign in the studio or cover it up," Rich said. "Once he got to talking and sharing stories, he'd start picking and we'd record him that way."

Mose-rager-dayScott Taylor, of Lexington, performed for the Mose Rager Day audience.

Hudson said that performers for the Mose Rager event included Paul Moseley of Beaver Dam, Freddy Russell from Todd County, Scott Taylor of Lexington, who is originally from Muhlenberg County and Eddie Pennington from Princeton.

"Once again this year we also had a phenomenal young 14-year-old named Evan Tweedy from Vincennes, Ind.," Hudson said. "This is still such a growing style around the world. This is something that Muhlenberg County, and the state of Kentucky can be proud of. This day is to honor Mose, to say 'Thank you' to him, and to carry on the awareness right here at home, to let people here know what we have here that should be cherished."

Hudson said that the 2014 National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame Induction will be the last weekend in September, adding that next year, the organization may need to change its name to the International Thumbpickers Hall of Fame, thanks to the musicians like Mose Rager, who helped create that Muhlenberg music the world seems to love.

Paul McRee
SurfKY News
Photos courtesy Marilyn Kirtley

© 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 by using one of the social media links below.

3/13 - 16
button coupons

Stock Report

1 DOW 17,430.19
+42.98 (0.25%)    
2 S&P 2,032.54
+2.99 (0.15%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,708.71
+27.22 (0.58%)    
3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16
button classifieds

In Other News...

NHRA North Central Division Names Dallas Jones Family Person of the Year

KENTUCKY (1/27/15) — The Dallas Jones family and Beech Bend Raceway were recently recognized as the National Hot Rod… Read More

Art of Caregiving Forum Set for Thursday, Feb. 5 in Benton

MURRAY, Ky. (1/27/15) — The Murray Calloway Endowment for Health Care is sponsoring The Art of Caregiving, a public… Read More
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

January 23, 2015 9380

Local Church's Faith Restored; 71 Souls Saved…

in Video by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
January 22, 2015 7401

Nortonville Man Accused of Selling Drugs near…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 21, 2015 6887

KYDOT Pre-Treating Roads Thursday in Antipation…

in Top News For All Sites by Keith Todd
January 22, 2015 6497

MCEA Head: Further School Mergers Might Ease…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
January 23, 2015 5872

Parents Face Charges after Marijuana Joint Falls…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 25, 2015 5702

Dean’s List Announced

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Joyce Riggs
January 26, 2015 5429

KSP Arrests Two on Child Porn Charges; MPD…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Trooper Stu Recke
January 23, 2015 4717

Nortonville Woman Charged for Meth Possession

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 22, 2015 3815

Local Family Business Changes Hands

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 25, 2015 3797

Juvenile Hit by Vehicle at McDonald's

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by GPD Officer Wes Miller

Stories Trending Today

January 26, 2015 3469

School Board Votes 3-2 for Utility Tax

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
January 27, 2015 3016

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Karen McKnight, Hopkins Circuit Clerk
January 28, 2015 1481

BREAKING NEWS: Several Injured in Two-Vehicle…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 27, 2015 1399

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Jan. 27, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
January 27, 2015 982

NHRA North Central Division Names Dallas Jones…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Telia Butler
January 27, 2015 961

Power of a Positive Attitude

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
January 27, 2015 951

Restless Legs Syndrome Affects Many

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
January 27, 2015 945

Whitfield Works to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse

in General News For All Sites by Marty Irby
January 27, 2015 797

Practice Weather-Related Pet Safety

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
January 28, 2015 794

Tax Recall Committee Formed Day After School…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flr subscribevideoitunessocial rss