The 2022 book Sixteen Tons: The Merle Travis Story paints a vivid and unvarnished portrait of Merle Travis, guitar innovator, hit songwriter, and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Using a trove of unearthed autobiographical writings left by Travis, co-author Deke Dickerson traces Travis’s journey from western Kentucky coal country to the top of the charts and his high standing among country music’s most influential guitarists. During this program, Dickerson, master guitarists Tommy Emmanuel and Eddie Pennington, and Travis’s daughters Cindy Travis and Merlene Travis-Maggini will discuss the musician’s life, work, and legacy. Deke Dickerson is a guitarist, author, and historian who has released more than twenty albums, both on his own and with projects such as Deke Dickerson & the Ecco-Fonics. Tommy Emmanuel is one of the world’s premier acoustic guitarists and one of only five people to be named a “CGP” (Certified Guitar Player) by his musical hero, Chet Atkins. He frequently plays Merle Travis tunes in concert. Eddie Pennington is a lifelong disciple of “Travis picking” and other thumbpicking styles and has called Travis his “greatest hero.” Cindy Travis, the youngest daughter of Merle Travis, was a production assistant for a PBS series and is now an interior decorator living on the East Coast. Merlene Travis-Maggini, the middle daughter of Merle Travis, recently retired from Sony Pictures Entertainment after a thirty-nine-year career in music publishing and currently resides in southern California. Both daughters continue to be dedicated in keeping their father’s legacy alive. The Museum’s Dave Paulson will host this program. Presented in partnership with the Americana Music Association. Ford Theater. Program ticket required.
Conference registrants should refer to the email sent by the Americana Music Association for the link to reserve tickets. Museum members reserve tickets here. Limited tickets may be available for visitors who have purchased Museum admission on the day of the program.