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

Thumbpicking Organization Encourages Keeping Tradition Alive

 Trouble viewing this gallery on your device? Click here for photos.

MUHLENBERG COUNTY (10/18/13) — A few months ago, several avid supporters of what is now known world over as "Muhlenberg thumbpicking" decided that a great way to promote the county's thumbpicking legacy would be to place "a guitar in every window".

The idea was inspired by Marilyn Kirtley and Marilyn Bedell along with the help of many other avid lovers of our Muhlenberg musical heritage.

Although some of the guitars are the real thing, most are simply made from wood, transformed into beautiful hand painted decorations. The sight of these was quite impressive to the hundreds of visitors who attended the September "Home of the Legends Thumbpicking Weekend" at the Merle Travis Music Center in Powderly, said Kirtley.

"After attending the 'Chet Atkins Appreciation Society' for 20 years, and finding out how much people from all over the world love Merle Travis and his music, we realized the people in Muhlenberg County are not aware of how much this music means to the world,” said Kirtley. “Marilyn Bedell and I decided we wanted to do something to educate the people of Muhlenberg County about our musical heritage.”

Kirtley said while there are thumbpicking events every month, they are poorly attended.

"Louisville and Lexington are known for horses, and they don't hide them away in the barn after the Kentucky Derby. So why can't we let visitors year round know that Muhlenberg County is where thumbpicking really started,” she said. “Our goal is to publicize the thumbpicking heritage of our county. Just because our big thumbpicking weekend is over, that's no reason to take the guitars down. When tourists to the area see all these guitars, they want to know why they are there, and this is the perfect chance for us to explain the exciting musical history of our county."

Kirtley said she was a bit disappointed when the September events ended and people began to take the guitars down.

"We really want people to be proud of our heritage. So we hope people will keep those guitars up in their windows, or use them as yard decorations,” she said. “Any way to let visitors know we are the thumbpicking capital of the world."

Kirtley said guitars are still available for purchase. To buy one, call 270-338-5961.

“We have sold at least 50 guitars, and more are being worked on now,” she said. “We can create just about any design on the guitars, for your business, or whatever you want."

The Muhlenberg High School art class was featured in a Surfky.com article in September.

"This has been an idea in the back of a lot of peoples' minds for a long time,” said Bedell. “The young people involved may not be familiar with Mose Rager or even Merle Travis, but these men are the roos of the Muhlenberg music legacy. The Muhlenberg thumbpicking style is popular all over the world."

SurfKY News
Paul McRee

© 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.

In Other News...

ODC 14-Year-Olds Compile 2-1 Record in Pool Play

HENDERSON, Ky. (7/28/14) — The Owensboro-Daviess County 14-year-old All-Stars notched a 2-1 record in pool play of the… Read More

Closure on Kentucky 1525 in Webster County Today

WEBSTER COUNTY, Ky. (7/28/14) — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plans to close a section of Kentucky 1525 in… Read More

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

July 24, 2014 3806

Powderly Man Injured in Apparent Gun…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 24, 2014 2717

Madisonville Man Charged for Drugs,…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
July 25, 2014 2110

No One Injured in Truck-Train Collision

in Top Stories by Ami Clayton, SurfKY News
July 24, 2014 1724

Muhlenberg to Have State's Only Honey…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 25, 2014 1386

Vehicle Strikes Lawn Mower Driven on…

in Top Stories by Dep. Mike Evans

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

July 24, 2014 2717

Madisonville Man Charged for Drugs,…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
July 25, 2014 2110

No One Injured in Truck-Train Collision

in Top Stories by Ami Clayton, SurfKY News
July 25, 2014 1386

Vehicle Strikes Lawn Mower Driven on…

in Top Stories by Dep. Mike Evans
July 24, 2014 1058

Hopkins County Fair Provides Family Fun

in Top Stories by Ami Clayton, SurfKY News
July 27, 2014 873

Hopkins County Fair Concludes

in Top Stories by Ami Clayton, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

July 24, 2014 1302

US 231 Ohio River 'William Natcher'…

in News by Keith Todd
July 24, 2014 993

Maintenance Scheduled at Fisher Park and…

in News by Brittni Bunn
July 24, 2014 850

Portion of Spring Bank Drive Closed…

in News by Sherry Girten
July 24, 2014 276

Owensboro Southern 11-Year-Olds Finish…

in Top Stories by Steve LeMaster
July 28, 2014 198

Dont Miss Out on a Howl of a Good Time

in News by Brittni Bunn

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

July 24, 2014 3806

Powderly Man Injured in Apparent Gun…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 24, 2014 1724

Muhlenberg to Have State's Only Honey…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 24, 2014 1268

Marching Mustangs Band Camp Underway

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 25, 2014 1144

Business Spotlight - McQuady's Automotive

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 25, 2014 992

Business Spotlight - Blue Moon Car Wash

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News

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)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


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

social 06social 21social 22social 04social 03