Of Merle Travis' guitar playing, Chet Atkins once wrote "I can truthfully say that Merle has been the continuing influence in everything I've tried to do" Cliffie Stone added,"No guitarist in the music world is more original. Merle makes those six strings sound like an entire orchestra" Of himself, Merle says simply, "I always liked playing and writing songs. And it sure was better than working in the mines." And there you have it. But even if there weren't coal mines in Kentucky to leave behind, Merle Travis probably still would have traveled up North for his first radio appearance, where he played Tiger Rag, and the beginning of a career that made him an American institution.