Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

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 2014 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.

Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

In Other News...

Wanted Man Leads Troopers on Chase Through Woods

ST. CHARLES, Ky. (9/17/14) ― As Kentucky State Police Troopers John Komar and Bob Winters attempted to serve warrants… Read More

Hopkins County Health Department Food Scores Thru Sept. 18, 2014

HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (9/18/14) — The following is your update on local restaurant inspections for the Hopkins County… Read More
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

September 15, 2014 5215

Man Accused of Stealing Rural King…

in Top Stories by MCSO PIO Alex Piper
September 15, 2014 4949

Man Accused of Stalking Woman During Her…

in Top Stories by GPD PIO Wes Miller
September 16, 2014 3846

Postal Worker Arrested for Terroristic…

in Top Stories by GPD PIO Wes Miller
September 17, 2014 2779

Wanted Man Leads Troopers on Chase…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
September 17, 2014 2646

Two Arrested for Meth After Traffic Stop

in Top Stories by Alex Piper

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

September 17, 2014 2779

Wanted Man Leads Troopers on Chase…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
September 15, 2014 2369

Man Arrested for DUI, Carrying Concealed…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 15, 2014 2242

Man Arrested for Being Under Influence of…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 17, 2014 1847

Three Injured in Two-Vehicle Accident

in Top Stories by Kyle Pharris
September 18, 2014 1351

Manitou Man Charged with DUI

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

September 15, 2014 1503

Owensboro Convention Center Announces…

in News by Madison Strobel
September 15, 2014 1189

Marian Retreat Oct. 18-19

in News by Jennifer Kaminski
September 15, 2014 1065

Parking Committee Meeting Location Change

in News by Beth Cecil
September 15, 2014 487

Owensboro Man Charged With Burglary,…

in Top Stories by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
September 15, 2014 388

Owensboro Police Department Activity…

in Top Stories by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

September 15, 2014 5215

Man Accused of Stealing Rural King…

in Top Stories by MCSO PIO Alex Piper
September 15, 2014 4949

Man Accused of Stalking Woman During Her…

in Top Stories by GPD PIO Wes Miller
September 16, 2014 3846

Postal Worker Arrested for Terroristic…

in Top Stories by GPD PIO Wes Miller
September 17, 2014 2646

Two Arrested for Meth After Traffic Stop

in Top Stories by Alex Piper
September 14, 2014 2272

Three Injured in Single-Car Collision

in Top Stories by Robert LIttlepage

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 03social 04social 22social 21social 06