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

Third Suspect Charged in Greenville Home Invasion Cases

MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (9/22/14) ― The third of three suspects in the home invasion cases in Greenville has been… Read More

One Hospitalized, Another Jailed After Four-Car Collision

HENDERSON, Ky. (9/21/14) ― A multiple-vehicle accident occurred at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20 on the southbound bridge… Read More

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

September 19, 2014 4663

Madisonville Man Among Three Arrested for…

in Top Stories by Muhlenberg Sheriff Curtis McGehee
September 20, 2014 3554

Large Cache of Drugs, Cash, Gun Seized;…

in Top Stories by MCSO PIO Alex Piper
September 17, 2014 3413

Wanted Man Leads Troopers on Chase…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
September 18, 2014 3086

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

in News by Karen McKnight
September 19, 2014 2842

Five Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision at…

in Top Stories by MPD Officer Russell Nichols

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

September 17, 2014 3413

Wanted Man Leads Troopers on Chase…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
September 19, 2014 2842

Five Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision at…

in Top Stories by MPD Officer Russell Nichols
September 18, 2014 1902

Manitou Man Charged with DUI

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 18, 2014 1811

Vehicle Strikes CSX Train Cars at Crossing

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
September 19, 2014 1493

My Kentucky Roads - Twin Maples Farm in…

in Top Stories by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

September 20, 2014 1088

Man Charged with Theft After KSP…

in Top Stories by Alexis McGee
September 19, 2014 876

STREET CLOSINGS FOR MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

in Top Stories by Abby Shelton
September 19, 2014 853

Police Searching for Hit-And-Run Driver

in Top Stories by Jennifer Smith, DCSO
September 18, 2014 689

Owensboro's Nathan Morris Has Worldwide…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
September 18, 2014 510

9-1-1 Phone Lines

in Top Stories by Michael Hathaway

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

September 20, 2014 3554

Large Cache of Drugs, Cash, Gun Seized;…

in Top Stories by MCSO PIO Alex Piper
September 20, 2014 1636

Paradise NRA Banquet Promises Food, Fun,…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
September 22, 2014 1273

Third Suspect Charged in Greenville Home…

in Top Stories by MCITF PIO Wes Miller
September 22, 2014 787

Hundreds Turn Out for Greenville Festival

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
September 22, 2014 741

Muhlenberg Bass Team Members Score…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, 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)


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