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 musician born in Rosewood, Kentucky. His lyrics often discussed the exploitation of coal miners. Some of the songs he wrote or performed include: "Sixteen Tons", "Dark as a Dungeon", "So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed", and "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke that Cigarette"; however, it is his masterful guitar playing that he is best known for today. "Travis picking", a style of guitar picking, is named after him. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1977.
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