Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Davis Motor Sales banner ad
Posted on 2/2/14

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 by using one of the social media links below.

2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week

January 23, 2015 9426

Local Church's Faith Restored; 71 Souls Saved…

in Video by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
January 22, 2015 7436

Nortonville Man Accused of Selling Drugs near…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 21, 2015 6962

KYDOT Pre-Treating Roads Thursday in Antipation…

in Top News For All Sites by Keith Todd
January 22, 2015 6579

MCEA Head: Further School Mergers Might Ease…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
January 23, 2015 5894

Parents Face Charges after Marijuana Joint Falls…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 25, 2015 5804

Dean’s List Announced

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Joyce Riggs
January 26, 2015 5575

KSP Arrests Two on Child Porn Charges; MPD…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Trooper Stu Recke
January 28, 2015 4987

BREAKING NEWS: Several Injured in Two-Vehicle…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

January 08, 2015 20874

Woman Claiming to be 'Lady Gaga' Tours Town in…

in Top News For All Sites by Madisonville Police Department
January 15, 2015 20704

UPDATE: Fatality Victim's Name Officially Released

in Top News For All Sites by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

January 28, 2015 4987

BREAKING NEWS: Several Injured in Two-Vehicle…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 26, 2015 3583

School Board Votes 3-2 for Utility Tax

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
January 27, 2015 3201

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Karen McKnight, Hopkins Circuit Clerk
January 27, 2015 1511

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Jan. 27, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
January 28, 2015 1495

Nortonville Man Accused of Meth Possession,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 28, 2015 1190

Tax Recall Committee Formed Day After School…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
January 27, 2015 1111

Power of a Positive Attitude

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
January 27, 2015 1072

NHRA North Central Division Names Dallas Jones…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Telia Butler
January 27, 2015 1060

Whitfield Works to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse

in General News For All Sites by Marty Irby
January 27, 2015 1055

Restless Legs Syndrome Affects Many

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
January 27, 2015 862

Practice Weather-Related Pet Safety

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
January 27, 2015 659

Breakthroughs for Circuit Clerks' Organ Donation…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Karen McKnight