Merle Travis In Boston 1959

Along with Mother Maybelle Carter, Travis can stake a claim to developing a style of guitar playing that has come to define the sound of country and folk music ever since. His innovations were quickly taken up and mass produced in Nashville by Chet Atkins, while Travis continued on his own path, along the way contributing classic songs that reflected his tough upbringing, like "Dark as a Dungeon” and "Sixteen Tons.” Yet his performing style hardly betrayed any lingering effects of this, as his light-hearted and affable demeanour was the essence of down-home charm. This live recording, made by folk revivalist Mike Seeger, lovingly captures Travis on a good night, playing solo before a reverential audience. While the general presentation of the show may seem a tad pedestrian by today’s standards, the relaxed brilliance of Travis’s performance shines through. What made him such a trailblazer was the ease with which he combined folk, blues and jazz riffs into a thoroughly original American technique, for which he remains a touchstone for aspiring guitarists everywhere. For that reason, In Boston 1959 might appeal more to musos, but anyone interested in the roots of country music would do well to pick it up as a sample of Travis’s legacy. (Rounder)