Jimmie Rodgers quit school in his early teens to work as a water carrier for the Mississippi and Ohio Railroad. In 1924, at age 27, he learned he had tuberculosis, so he left the railroad to take up music. Rodgers received his big break three years later when he was able to audition for a major recording company executive. Under that executive's supervision, Rodgers recorded more than 100 songs during the next six years. He became known as the "Singing Brakeman." He wrote and sang numerous songs about trains, and was one of the first to bring the music of the rural South to the attention of the nation. By the end of the 1920s he was a national figure.