NYTimes Cornelia Street Cafe July 6, 2017 by Giovanni Russonero: “The singer and Appalachian dulcimer player David Massengill performed a song he’d written decades ago as part of the Songwriter’s Exchange, an informal workshop housed at the club in the 1970s and ’80s: it was a happy jumble of ribald metaphors, tinged with a youthful vulnerability that still seemed to suit him.”

David Massengill


He once chased a bobcat and vice versa. By birth a Tennessean, David Massengill “emigrated” to the Greenwich Village folk scene in the mid-70s, walking the same street and playing the same storied coffeehouses as Dylan and Van Ronk. Thirty years later he’s being recognized universally for his pivotal role in keeping the American folk tradition alive. His songs have been recorded by Joan Baez, The Roches, David Bromberg, Chad Mitchell, Tom Russell, Lucy Kaplinsky, Nanci Griffith and his mentor Dave Van Ronk who said David “took the dull out of dulcimer.”

Called “a master of vivid lyrical imagery” (Boston Globe), David continues to create beautiful and poignant “story songs” that are intimate and relevant. Sometimes sweet, sometimes uproariously funny, sometimes tragic, sometimes political but never boring. He will spend a day or a year crafting a song. Audiences often look forward to the amusing stories he sometimes offers between songs, having honed his anecdotal skills with appearances at the Jonesboro Storytelling Festival and others around the country.

In 2016 The Southern Folklife Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill offered to archive David’s works. He considers this a high honor and he joins Dave Van Ronk, Mike Seeger, Bill Morrissey and many other worthy artists. He asked to use his friend Bill Morrissey’s guitar for one of the songs he sang at the presentation concert but was told it was unplayable. They offered Andy Griffith’s guitar instead and he found it acceptable. Although he has six cds, eleven bootlegs, 15 picture books, and two audio books available David is now concentrating on his archive recordings of which there will be at least a dozen. The first and now available archive cd is Rancantankerous Odes.

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