Merle Robert Travis (November 29, 1917 – October 20, 1983) was an American country and Western singer, songwriter.
His lyrics often discussed the life and exploitation of coal miners. Among his many well-known songs are “Sixteen Tons”, “Re-Enlistment Blues” and “Dark as a Dungeon”. However, it is his masterly guitar playing and his interpretations of the rich musical traditions of his native Muhlenberg County, Kentucky for which he is best known today. “Travis picking”, a syncopated style of finger picking, is named after him. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1977.