June 4, 1975: Old-Time Fiddler Clark Kessinger Dies at 78


Old-time fiddler Clark Kessinger died in St. Albans on June 4, 1975, at age 78. Known for his near-perfect intonation and impeccable tone, Kessinger was a pioneer in the resurgence of traditional music in the late 20th century.

Kessinger’s career started in the 1920s, when he and his nephew launched a duo known as the Kessinger Brothers. In 1927, they began performing live on Charleston’s first radio station. Over the next three years, they recorded more than 60 instrumental tunes.

As with many other performers, the duo’s career was cut short by the Great Depression. For the next three decades, Clark Kessinger performed primarily at local dances. His obscurity came to an end when he was rediscovered just in time for the ’60s folk revival.

Clark Kessinger’s enthusiastic style is still imitated by up-and-coming fiddlers around the world.