Posts Tagged ‘Kessinger Bros.’

New Millennium Jelly Rollers – September 2015 Tour Dates in Northeast USA

August 13, 2015


The New Millennium Jelly Rollers have been playing raucous fiddle tunes, singing low-down blues, and inspiring general hilarity all over the eastern United States for one year and counting. This foot-stompin’ duo is composed of Max Godfrey and Elias Alexander, who began making music together by trading off verses on call-and-response worksongs and spirituals. Since then, their sound has grown to encompass everything from country-blues to old-e dance tunes and Skillet-Licker-style sketch comedy. For all their performances, The New Millennium Jelly Rollers encourage attendees to come ready to cut loose and sing out!

Their self-titled debut album can be found at:

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September 2015 tour dates:

Thursday, September 3rd: Boston House Concert
Doors open 7:30, Show starts 8 PM
Location: private residence in Jamaica Plain, MA. Please RSVP to for directions

Friday, September 4th: The Prairie Whale Restaurant, Great Barrington MA
6:30 PM Start.
Free music, tasty farm-to-table food, tips gladly accepted, and CDs for sale.

Saturday, September 5th: Mettabee Barn Concert and Worksong Hootennany
Featuring local worksong composer Eric Sherman
Music begins at 7 PM. Suggested donation $15.
Potluck dinner before show at 5:30 PM. Bring your favorite bowl, plate, spoon, fork, spork, and dish if you wish. Camping is available for those who wish to stay over. RSVP about camping to:

Monday, September 7th: Labor Day Spectacular @ Windy Hollow
8 PM Start
66 Sunderland Rd (Rt. 47), Montague MA.
$10 admission

Thursday, September 10th: House Concert @ Takoma Park, MD.
Sponsored by the Folk Song Society of Greater Washington
Doors open at 7:30, music starts at 8 p.m.
$15 donation
Dessert, coffee and wine.
Reservations required: or 443-786-0463 for Directions.

Saturday, September 12th: The Jalopy Theatre and School of Music, Brooklyn.
With Miss Tess and the Talkbacks
9 PM
$10 in advance, $12 at door.

Monday, September 14th, Club Passim Boston MA: Monday Discovery Series with The New Millennium Jelly Rollers and The Meadows Brothers
8 PM
$10 Admission
To Purchase Tickets:
47 Palmer Street, Cambridge, MA 02138


The Kessinger Brothers

November 21, 2011

by Bruce Eder (

Clark Kessinger (1896-1975) and Luches Kessinger (1906-1944) — who were not brothers but were related — were among the top fiddle duos of their era, and left behind an enviable body of music in just three years of steady recording. Clark Kessinger took up the banjo and the fiddle at age five, following in the wake of his grandfather and uncle (both fiddle players). It wasn’t long before he was attracting attention at the local saloons in Lincoln County, VA, where he was raised — in the company of his father, the boy delighted adults with his skills at playing the hits of the day on his fiddle.

He later graduated to playing at dances, and had embarked on a music career when America’s entry into the First World War interrupted his work, sending him into uniform at age 20. It was after he was mustered out and resumed playing that he found a performing partner in his nephew, guitarist Luches Kessinger — the two played in perfectly complementary styles, and were soon working full-time together and became a major attraction in the area around Charleston, WV.

Clark Kessinger played like few country fiddlers, with a clear intonation and a range that dazzled onlookers and fellow musicians. He was such a daunting talent that, as Charles Wolfe cited in his essay on the duo, other fiddlers would simply decline to compete with him in contests. By 1927, the Kessingers had landed a coveted spot on WOBU in Charleston and their fame spread through the new, burgeoning broadcast medium.

Technology took a further hand in early February 1928 when Clark and Luches Kessinger, along with dance caller Ernest Legg, were recorded in Ashland, KY in a series of sides done for Brunswick Records. The result was their debut single, “Wednesday Night Waltz” b/w “Goodnight Waltz,” for which they were paid $100 and which went on to outsell and eclipse an existing (and current) hit version of the A-side by the Leake County Revellers. Ironically, whereas the custom of the time was that the caller on a dance record was often as central to its appeal as the players, Kessinger was so good a player that it was decided to forego the presence of a caller on future sides, and give his fiddle the exclusive spotlight.

They were signed up as the Kessinger Brothers and recorded extensively over the next two years (some of their sides were also credited to the “Wright Brothers” and the “Arnold Brothers”), their output totaling over 25 singles by 1930. Among their sides, “Dill Pickle Rag” and “Salt River” were established as permanent parts of old-time fiddle repertory, and Clark Kessinger recorded some solo fiddle material for Vocalion in the 1930’s.

He was so prominent a musician, that no less a figure than the legendary classical violinist Josef Szigeti (some sources say it was Fritz Kreisler) met with him to discuss style and technique when the latter appeared in West Virginia. Unfortunately, Clark Kessinger was never able to sustain a full-time performing career amid the privations of the Great Depression — married and with a family to support, he retreated to the safer living of a house painter.

He appeared with his cousin on WOBU and played in some fiddle competitions, with some occasional live performances (with the Delmore Brothers, among others). After Luches’ death in 1944, he appeared only at local dances around Charleston, and wasn’t heard from again in recorded music until the early ’60s, when he was rediscovered through modern folk music scholars — astonishingly, the sexagenarian fiddler 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. Kessinger suffered a stroke in 1971, nine years after his comeback, while recording an LP for Rounder Records. He was never able to play again, and passed away from an additional stroke in 1975, at the age of 78.

“Sobre las Olas” (Southern Waltz #13)

November 20, 2011

Juventino Rosas

Over The Waves (Sobre Las Olas) is probably the best known waltz in the South and Southwest, and in tejano music. Though sometimes thought to be a Strauss waltz, “Over the Waves” was the best-known work of Juventino Rosas (1868-1894), a pure-blooded Otomi Indian from Mexico. Rosas grew up playing violin in his father’s wandering string band in Mexico City, and by the time he was 15 he was good enough to take a job with a touring opera company. After a miserable stint in the army, he returned to Mexico City to try to eke out a living writing drawing room pieces for a local publishing company.

One of these was “Sobre Las Olas,” published in 1891; though it quickly became popular and was picked up by fiddlers all along the border, Rosas himself received little tangible rewards for it. In desperation, he joined a traveling road show, and wound up in Havana, where he caught a fever and died. He was only 26. His song lived on, though; soon it was being played by early jazzmen in New Orleans and even by Italian accordion players in New York.   (from

Tony Russell’s Country Music Records lists 19 old time recordings of “Over the Waves” between 1921-1942.  This one has not been surpassed:

 “Over the Waves,” by the Kessinger Bros.

Feb. 4, 1929, New York, NY