By Mark Kemp

Kentucky Educational Television documentary, Merle Travis: Guitar Man, looks at the life of the legendary Bluegrass State guitarist who developed the hugely influential style of acoustic finger picking called, appropriately enough, Travis-style picking. Part of KET’s Kentucky Muse series, the doc traces Travis’ career from his childhood in Rosewood, Kentucky, to his success writing and performing some of the greatest songs in the folk and bluegrass canon, including “Dark as a Dungeon” and “Sixteen Tons.”


You can watch Merle Travis: Guitar Man above. But also explore other shows in the Kentucky Muse series including Appalatin, a look at two cultures—traditional Appalachian musicians and new Latino immigrants—whose folk styles have begun to blend together into a wonderful new American sound.

Video Lesson: Learn the Nuts and Bolts of Travis Picking