Eddie Pennington is widely recognized among his peers as one of the greatest living thumbstyle guitarists. In venues throughout the United States and Europe, he has kept alive the sound popularized by Kentucky native Merle Travis in the 1940s. Because of his ability to adapt well-known tunes to the alternating bass rhythms that characterize “Travis pickin’,” Eddie’s performances have generated renewed interest in this challenging art form.
On stage, Eddie mixes his music with generous helpings of Travis stories and down-home humor, occasionally tossing in observances peppered with his humble, unpretentious wit. Much like a storyteller draws his listener into another time and place, Eddie transports his audiences to the days of the old coal-mining towns with traditional Travis songs like “Nine-Pound Hammer,” takes them to his front porch for a few neighborly gospel tunes, and creates an aura of wistful thinking with thumbstyle renditions of classic songs everyone recognizes, such as “Over the Rainbow.”
Eddie Pennington’s love of the guitar—and his love of live performance—brings to life the rich musical traditions of western Kentucky, making him an entertainer appealing to all ages all over the world . His strong sense of place, combined with flawless performances of folk and contemporary guitar tunes, attracts and keeps a legion of loyal listeners.
“(Eddie Pennington plays)… in the Travis style to the delight of everyone within earshot.” — The Washington Post
“Eddie is one of America’s finest thumbpicking country-ragtime guitarists.” — Nick Spitzer, Folkmasters NPR radio series
“If you want thumbstyle guitar, Edward Pennington is the one to do it.”– John Hartford (1937-2001), musician/singer/songwriter
“Merle Travis would be proud of Eddie, and happy his style is in such good hands.”– Joe Wilson, National Council for the Traditional Arts
“Eddie is a great Merle Travis style player and entertainer. People love his music everywhere he goes.”– Paul Yandell
“Thumbpicking is lucky to have someone like Eddie Pennington carrying on the tradition. When I listen to Eddie pick, I can hear how much he loves the music.” – John Knowles
“Eddie’s interpretation of Travis classics is impeccable in spirit and execution.” — Kentucky Folklife