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

3/12 - 718 switched from reg 2 to hopkins only
3/13 - 16

Stock Report

1 DOW 16,979.13
+59.54 (0.35%)    
2 S&P 1,986.51
+4.91 (0.25%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,526.48
-1.03 (-0.02%)    
3/12 - 718 switched from reg 2 to hopkins only
3/13 - 16
3/12 - 718 switched from reg 2 to hopkins only
3/13 - 16

In Other News...

Central City Lions Club Charity Auction Set for Aug. 28

CENTRAL CITY, Ky. (8/19/14) — The 56th annual Central City Lions Club Charity Auction will take place from 5:30 p.m.… Read More

HCC Foundation Names Atwood Textbook Scholarship Recipients

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (8/19/14) — The Hopkinsville Community College Foundation, Inc. has selected 31 Hopkinsville… Read More
3/12 - 718 switched from reg 2 to hopkins only
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

August 17, 2014 3380

Greenville Police Conducting Traffic…

in Top Stories by Wes Miller
August 16, 2014 3343

Pogue's Automotive Annual Picnic Brings…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
August 18, 2014 2967

Man Injured in Early Morning WKP Accident

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
August 18, 2014 2641

Owensboro Board of Commissioners…

in News by Beth Cecil
August 18, 2014 2524

Unlawful Solicitation

in News by Sgt. J.D. Winkler

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

August 18, 2014 2450

Madisonville Man Charged for Shoplifting,…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
August 16, 2014 1412

Non-Partisan Offices Deadline Passes -…

in Top Stories by Keenan Ratliff
August 18, 2014 1224

Madisonville Firefighters Recognized for…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
August 16, 2014 1224

Madisonville Police Conducting Sobriety…

in Top Stories by Lt. Charles Young II
August 20, 2014 1082

Park Avenue Trespass Call Leads to…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

August 18, 2014 2641

Owensboro Board of Commissioners…

in News by Beth Cecil
August 18, 2014 2524

Unlawful Solicitation

in News by Sgt. J.D. Winkler
August 18, 2014 2458

RiverArtes Opening at OMFA

in News by Owensboro Museum of Fine Art
August 19, 2014 1835

Free Arthritis Exercise Program will be…

in News by Woody Maglinger
August 19, 2014 1543

Municipal Art Collection on Exhibit at…

in News by Mary Bryan Hood

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

August 17, 2014 3380

Greenville Police Conducting Traffic…

in Top Stories by Wes Miller
August 16, 2014 3343

Pogue's Automotive Annual Picnic Brings…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
August 18, 2014 2967

Man Injured in Early Morning WKP Accident

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
August 18, 2014 2164

Luke's Flea Market Vendors' Home Away…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
August 18, 2014 2101

'How Dry I Was'

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director

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 03social 04social 22social 21social 06