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.

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8 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..

  4. DENNIS
    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,

  5. Greg Watson
    28 May, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Sorry To Tell You This But I Recorded Witrh Jimmie Rodgers Guitar In 1999
    One Song Was Released On A CD.. I Have Video And Other Recordings That Was done And Pictrures To Back Up My Statement. The Afore Mentioned Recording By Mr Gully May Be The First Tribute To Be Done …..But Is Not The First Time It Had Been Used On A Recording.
    Greg Watson

  6. Troy Hess
    6 June, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Dennis,

    the guitar has been verified by The Martin Guitar company as # 9 in a batch of 15 guitars built in March of 1928, just acouple of months prior to the famous one presented to Jimmie by CF Martin in May of 28…And NO, the guitar is not a D35!! I have letters from Carrie to my dad telling him she was glad he still had the guitar, and I myself met with Jimmie Dale Court back in the 80’s, and his mother , Anita had told him about the guitar, and I brought it when I played the Jimmie Rodgers Festival w/ Tom Swatzell, and Jimmie dale got to hold his grand dads guitar. Dad was a colorful man, but this guitar, I know belonged to Jimmie from ALL the things I’ve seen!! Porterfield’s book was a joke when it came to my dad..He asked my dad at the age of his early 60’s about specific times & places that would have happened to my dad prior to him turning 16 years old. Porterfield was skeptical that my dad could not remember these…lol…I’ll bet if you were to ask Porterfield, at the age he is now, when he had his last bowel movement, and where, I’m guessing he would have a hard time remembering! And , if you hear thr recording of Jimmie singing the original song my dad had written as Porterfield did, via my dad, I dare ANYONE to dispute that that is Jimmie Rodger’s singing, as Porterfield did!!!
    My dad was a character, and he did enjoy kidding with people, but when it came to Jimmie Rodgers, he did ANYTHING but joke!

    Troy

  7. Baron Lane
    6 June, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Troy, Thanks for the comment. I love this discussion.

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