I'd be honored if you'd give a listen to my grandpa playing Denver Blues on his Martin 3/4 guitar twenty some years ago.
Grandpa played in the finger-picking style, also known as fingerstyle, and this manner of guitar picking has a great kinship with the river-bottom blues style of guitar picking. The thumb plays the lower strings as the rhythm accompaniment while the index and middle fingers play the melody and harmonies on the middle and high strings.
Music has been my abiding passion my whole life, and I really learned first to love music at grandpa's feet, listening to this superb guitar. I can fall in and out of love with new music all the time, but there is only one true body of music to which my soul resonates, and it is this, played by my grandfather's hands and informed by his life of joy and tragedy. I'll post more of his music soon, but this, Denver Blues, is one of my favorites.
Grandpa started playing when he was just a few years old, around the time of WWI. I have another song recorded that he learned in 1922, and in addition to the folk tradition, I think the finger pickers of that era were playing in a manner evocative of the jazz/ragtime and blues transformation that American pop music was undergoing at the moment. Grandpa was a woodman, and felled many a mile of timber in his day, much of that wood for furniture. Who knows-- maybe there's an antique stick of furniture in your house that passed through his hands? Anyway, I'm pleased you've taken a moment to think of my grandpa, and I thank those of you who've listened to him.
JPG asked for a link to a video of this style of playing, and here's an older blog post of mine that has video of another Ozark fingerpicker named Jimmie Driftwood who plays a guitar built from the headboard of his grandmother's bedstead. Filmed in 1988 at the age of 81, he was a real old-timer and he was born 7 years before my grandpa. Jimmie Driftwood wrote "The Battle of New Orleans" to get a class he was teaching interested in the subject. Jimmie strums more than my grandpa. Grandpa primarily plucked the strings, as you can hear, but there's a definite kinship in their styles.