Jimmie Rodgers Guitar Used to Record for First Time in 80 years

Britt Gully

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.


5 thoughts on “Jimmie Rodgers Guitar Used to Record for First Time in 80 years

  1. Troy Hess
    19 February, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    I have in my possession, one of Jimmie Rodgers guitars as well…it is the Martin guitar, bought & paid for by all of Jimmie’s railroad buddies in early-mid 1928, which included my grand dad, Kap Festo Hess, who was a lineman on the railroad, n was buddies with Jimmie’s daddy. According to Carrie, Jimmie’s wife, it was Jimmie’s 1st new guitar that he ever owned, and of course was replaced by the fancy one that Mr Martin presented to Jimmie, later in 1928. The guitar in question, was given to my dad by Mrs. Rodger’s after Jimmie’s death, and after my dad died in 1984, it was left to me. just a fyi!!

  2. dennis
    22 March, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    got any pics of it? that’s a cool story. you are one lucky man. if I could see it or you can post it on your webpage or something. is it a 0018?. congrats!

  3. dennis
    23 March, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    You must be a descendant of Bennie Hess. A D-35 then? I read about your Dad, Bennie in Nolan Porterfileds book, Jimmie Rodgers, pg. 191. Good story..You should post some of the unreleased recordings on Youtube for everyone to enjoy. If you can..or have them..

    23 March, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Everyone knew your dad was somewhat of a prankster and stretched the truth since d35 came out in 1960′s(he did say that was Jimmie’s 1st guitar) but he did have some records that may be legitimate…I hope so..there’s a lot of Jimmie Rodgers best buds, I hope its grounded in some facts but the truth should not be made up for history’s’ sake,

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