Blues trail marker in Meridian to honor Jimmie Rodgers

Published 6:57 pm Friday, April 27, 2007

The “Singing Brakeman” will get his own tribute from the Mississippi Blues Commission when a marker is unveiled on May 3 in Meridian.

The commission will hold the unveiling in conjunction with the 54th annual Jimmie Rodgers Festival.

The marker will be located at Singing Brakeman Park. It will pay tribute to Rodgers and the influence the blues had on his music.

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“We thought this location was important because of the role the railroad played in Rodgers’ music,” said Alex Thomas, Heritage Trails director with the Mississippi Development Authority.

Rodgers, known as the “Father of Country Music,” recorded more than 120 songs.

Born in Meridian on Sept. 8, 1897, Rodgers was also known as the “Singing Brakeman” for his work on the railroad. He made his first recording in 1927.

Rodgers died of tuberculosis at the age of 35 in May 1933 in New York City. He was the first performer elected to Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame.

Thomas, whose office oversees the Blues Trail marker program, said that more than a third of Rodgers’ recordings were blues, which he was exposed to as a young man working as a railroad brakeman.

Rodgers recorded the song Blue Yodel in 1927. The song sold more than a million copies and won him another nickname — “The Blue Yodeler.”