Davis Motor Sales banner ad

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

© 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.

Posted on 2/2/14
springhour

In Other News...

Hopkinsville Chick-fil-A Operator Named Rookie of the Year

KENTUCKY (3/4/15) — Laurie Harris, franchise Operator of the Chick-fil-A restaurant in Hopkinsville, Ky., received one… Read More

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - March 3, 2015

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (3/3/15) — The Madisonville Police Department released the following reports Tuesday, March 3.… Read More

Most Read This Week

March 02, 2015 9178

Madisonville Teen Faces Numerous Drug Charges

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
February 25, 2015 8444

Multi-Agency Investigation Nets Large-Scale Meth…

in Top News For All Sites by Trooper Stu Recke
February 24, 2015 8242

Two Charged in Central City Meth Bust

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
February 25, 2015 6345

New Asian Restaurant Coming to Madisonville

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
February 24, 2015 5526

School Board Holding Special Called Meeting

in Muhlenberg News by Sherri Miller
March 03, 2015 5202

Three Arrested during Traffic Stop

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center

Most Read This Month

February 12, 2015

UPDATE: Name of Pennyrile Fatality Officially…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
February 09, 2015

Police Pursue Man after Fight at Taco Bell

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center

Stories Trending Today

March 03, 2015 5202

Three Arrested during Traffic Stop

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
March 03, 2015 3261

Sacramento Man Charged with Rape, Sodomy

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
March 03, 2015 2273

Madisonville Man Charged for Robbery in Greenville

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Greenville Police Department
March 03, 2015 2267

Superintendent: Spring Break Won't be Touched…

in Hopkins News by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
March 03, 2015 1428

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - March 3, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
March 03, 2015 1291

Baptist Health Madisonville Now Offering…

in Hopkins News by Kristy Quinn
March 03, 2015 1277

SHMS Dance Team Places in State Championship

in Hopkins News by South Hopkins Middle School
March 03, 2015 1248

Militant Crazy Religion, Avoid the Damage

in General News For All Sites by Dr. Glenn Mollette
March 03, 2015 1221

Local Students Place in Stanley Lewis Cultural…

in Hopkins News by Joyce Riggs
March 03, 2015 1173

SurfKY News Exclusive: John Conlee Talks of 40…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News