Community Events

Nine Pound Hammer Screening

When: Sun., July 8, 1 p.m. 2012

Songs like “Dark as a Dungeon” and “Sixteen Tons” made Merle Travis one of the great poets of America’s coal mines, but tonight's documentary at the Country Music Hall of Fame reminds us that Travis was also an innovative guitar stylist and the leading proponent of the thumb-picking style that developed in his native Muhlenberg County, Ky. As Randy Fox mentioned in his related pick for the Muhlenberg County Thumbpickers (see above), John Prine once claimed that paradise could once be found within the boundaries of Muhlenberg — and if your idea of heaven includes a syncopated blur of thumb and fingertips coaxing lilting locomotion out of six steel strings, he was probably right. Nine Pound Hammer takes its name from another Travis coal-ditty, and the doc features him and a number of thumb-picking masters demonstrating yet another reason to celebrate the Bluegrass State — as if bourbon, Muhammad Ali and Hunter S. Thompson could leave you wanting more.

Joe Nolan

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