Biography:Alvis Massengale

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Alvis Massengale

 Given name:     Alvis
 Middle name:     
 Family name:     Massengale
 Place of birth:     Newton County, Mississippi
 Place of death:     
 Year of birth:     1897
 Year of death:     1993
 Profile:     Musician
 Source of information:     

Biographical notes

The group the Newton County Hillbillies was led by fiddler Alvis Massengale (1897-1993) of Newton County, who won the Mississippi State Championship for fiddlers in the 1930's. He grew up in the hardscrabble Newton County hills, born to a musical family where both his father and grandfather played the fiddle; Alvis himself learned began to play the instrument at age 11. For much of his adult life he supported himself and his family as a farmer and pulpwood hauler. Although his commercial recording career ended 1930, Massengale continued to play locally, and he and his brother provided background music for the film Ode to Billy Joe. He was recorded in the field in the 1970's on separate occasions by Gus Meade and Howard Marshall (released on Field Recorders Collective FRC 724, "Alvis Massengale", 2017), in preparation for the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration at the Smithsonian Institution, at which he performed with his friend Willie Barton.