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“I've always admired Merle, because not only was he a great guitarist, but he was also a fantastic composer. He did everything well. As a guitarist, he had something of a hard style. He really dug in with his right hand, way more than what Chet did. More than playing bass notes, he was playing rhythm, grabbing two or three notes like the bottom notes on a piano and driving them home.
“I think Merle developed this style because he would travel by himself and play gigs, so he’d do this rhythm thing as a way of approximating what a second guitarist would do.
“I always tell this to young players: When you’re checking out the rock guys, do yourself a favor and listen to some Merle Travis. It’s not rock, but there's a vitality and a freshness to it that transcends all genres. There’s stuff that you can take from Merle that’ll really improve your own playing.”