1936 to 1983
November 29, 1917 in Kentucky
October 20, 1983
Rosewood, Kentucky, United States
Merle Robert Travis (November 29, 1917 – October 20, 1983) was an American country and western singer, songwriter, and guitarist born in Rosewood, Kentucky. His song's lyrics often discussed both the lives and the economic exploitation of American coal miners. Among his many well-known songs are "Sixteen Tons," "Re-Enlistment Blues," "I am a Pilgrim," and "Dark as a Dungeon." However, it is his unique guitar style, still called Travis Picking by guitarists, as well as his interpretations of the rich musical traditions of his native Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, for which he is best known today.