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Clark Kessinger

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  • Born: Kanawha County, WV
  • Years Active: 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1960s, 1970s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

One of the greatest of old-time fiddlers, Clark Kessinger and his nephew, Luches, were billed as the Kessinger Brothers and recorded for the Brunswick company in the late '20s, producing records that greatly influenced other fiddle players around the South. After Luches' death in 1944, Clark appeared only at local dances around Charleston, West Virginia, until he was "rediscovered" during the folk revival of the 1960s. Astonishingly, Kessinger was still near the peak of his powers and suddenly found himself in demand at folk festivals, and ended up recording a handful of LPs and appearing on The Grand Ole Opry, where he gave two encores because of audience demand. He also entered many of the better-known fiddle contests, winning first place and the title of World Champion Fiddler at the 47th annual Old-Time Fiddler's & Bluegrass Festival in Union Grove, North Carolina in April 1971. Kessinger suffered a stroke later that year, nine years after his comeback, while active in both live appearances and recording for Rounder Records. He was never able to play again, and passed away from an additional stroke in 1975 at the age of 78.