The Mississippi Picnic (6/8) at New York’s Central Park will honor “Singing Brakeman,” Jimmie Rodgers, the “Father of Country Music,” as his iconic guitar will be played for the first time in 80 years to record music.
Rodger’s custom-ordered 1927 Martin 000-45, has his name in pearl inlay on the neck and “Thanks” written upside down on the back. After his death, Rodgers’ widow loaned the 000-45 to Ernest Tubb, who played it for forty years. It was later donated to the Jimmie Rodgers Museum, in Meridian, Mississippi, where it is kept in a safe behind glass.
Tribute artist Britt Gully received permission to use the guitar for recording a tribute CD and will play the guitar at a Rodgers tribute at the event. That day will celebrate the ‘Mississippi Country Music Trail’ by recognizing Jimmie Rodgers. Gully will perform along with other Mississippi artists during the picnic.
“This guitar is magical,” Gully said. “There was never a time when playing it that I did not realize what I was playing, and who played it before me.”
The first New York Mississippi Picnic took place in 1979, when a small group of native Mississippians living in New York had a strong desire to improve the perceptions of both regions in regard to one another.