Eddie Pennington is considered by his peers to be the greatest living thumb-style guitarist. He is in constant demand at several major gatherings of guitar players throughout the United States and Europe. The thumb-picking style of playing originated in Western Kentucky, Pennington’s home, and was popularized by singer-songwriter-guitarist Merle Travis. Pennington learned many of his licks from Mose Rager, the man Travis also credits as his teacher.
Pennington’s performances are marked by his humorous southern mannerisms and his ability to get the audience tapping their toes to the sounds of a four-piece orchestra originating from a single guitar. In 2001, Eddie Pennington received one of thirteen National Heritage Fellowships, the highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. He also received an honorary PhD. from Western Kentucky University for his music. In 2005, he received the Governor's Awards in the Arts Folk Heritage Award.