Authors: Merle Travis/Deke Dickerson. 6.5” X 9.5” 508 pages. Hard Cover. 468 pages text and 40 pages full color. Weight: 2.125 lb. ISBN: 978-1-947026-58-2. Price: $35.00.
Sixteen Tons: The Merle Travis Story is the story of Country Music Hall of Fame member Merle Travis, a brilliant, multitalented, and deeply troubled artist who is widely considered a genius. A world-class guitarist who dazzled audiences with his Kentucky thumb-picking style, Merle was also a pioneering country songwriter who wrote such classics as “Dark as a Dungeon” and “Sixteen Tons.” Additionally, he was responsible for early electric guitar innovations in the 1940s, and was a gifted actor, writer, and cartoonist, among many other talents. This definitive portrait of Travis’s life and career is the result of a recently discovered treasure trove of Merle’s unpublished autobiographical writings, which have been fleshed out with an immersive deep-dive biography by researcher and musical historian Deke Dickerson. It details the highs of a career that began with a string of nine straight Top 5 singles in the 1940s, and the lows of a lifelong struggle with alcoholism that developed into an addiction to pills that nearly killed Merle when he was running with Johnny Cash in the late 1950s. Travis ultimately reemerged to become a Grammy-winning artist who inspired millions and became a music legend.
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