Randall Massengill passes

“So hard to believe this one has left us so soon. I loved hearing Randall Massengill’s amazing voice,” shared Jill Wiese, longtime friend/fan and North Dakota show promoter. “All of us here in the North Dakota Bluegrass Association share in the loss of our great friend who performed twice at our summer festival, and six times at the Blizzard Bluegrass weekend at Bismarck State College.”

Wiese continued…

“Blue Moon Rising played our festival in June of 2005. My husband, Bob, and I were their ‘host family’ at the festival. In a way, I’ll say a pure and true love at first sight with all of the guys. 

“There was always something about Randy though. His ginormous smile, laughter, and immediate friendship stuck with all our hearts here in North Dakota. We began a long bluegrass relationship with BMR. Randy also brought his band, The Brand New Strings, who included Preston Schmidt of North Dakota. There was a lifelong bond formed with Randall from the time that we met! His appreciation for life was huge, and he truly loved North Dakota. He leaves behind many grieving friends in our state. We will all miss him and will cherish our ridiculously fun memories of Randy! Randy you brought so much joy, fun, shenanigans, and talent to share to our great state. We will never, ever forget you.”

The beloved bluegrass musician/singer and Tennessee State Trooper, Randall Massengill, age 49, of New Tazewell, TN, passed away January 20, 2022 at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center with his loving family and fellow troopers by his side. Randall performed with Blue Moon Rising (and previously with several other east Tennessee bands). A 20-year-veteran of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, he was a sergeant over the Critical Incident Response Team.

In Blue Moon Rising, Randall covered the tenor vocal and high leads for the band, along with his great rhythm guitar skills. Previously, he spent many years touring with the bluegrass Gospel band, New Road. Then, along with bassist, Tim Tipton, and New Road banjoist, Stuart Wyrick, they formed the successful band, Brand New Strings. Randall had many musical influences from Gospel, blues, country, and bluegrass, and it was apparent in his soulful tenor singing.

A strong Christian, Massengill’s singing reflected his faith. A song that he penned and recorded with New Road, God Sees Me (What The Lord Gave Us, 2001), is a prime example of his belief. 

Vic Graves, who spent nine years with Randall in New Road, performed on the album. The band’s rest guitarist praised his former band mate. 

“Randall was a good fellow. He always had a smile, and had something to say to make you smile. We didn’t live too far apart, about 15 miles. He was very talented, one of the best guitar pickers around here. He wrote a song on one of our albums called God Sees Me. That will minister to you.”

The chorus says it all:

God sees me as one of His children.
God sees me as one of His own.
As the blood was applied through the tears in His eyes,
God saw me when I couldn’t see at all.

God Sees Me was one of our most requested songs,” stated Stuart Wyrick, who picked banjo alongside Randall’s guitar in both New Road and Brand New Strings. 

“I first met Randall around 1993. In 1995, New Road was formed. Randall was one of the original members and recorded five CDs with New Road. In 2009, Brand New Strings formed. Randall recorded two CDs for Rural Rhythm Records and toured as a national act. Randall was a great songwriter, singer and guitar player, and a good friend. He will be greatly missed.”

Band members from his current band, Blue Moon Rising, chimed in with praises for their fallen friend.

Chris West, Blue Moon Rising’s guitarist, began, “Randall Massengill was a great friend, father, and husband. He was also a great bluegrass guitar picker and tenor/high lead singer. Blue Moon Rising would never have been the same, or as good, without him. I can’t tell you the countless nights we’ve spent in hotel rooms singing old Stanley Brothers and Bill Monroe songs, and I will always miss him. I met Randall (Erndie) when we were both kids at the Oasis Pizza Parlor in Harrogate, TN, and have been friends ever since. My heart hurts for his wife, Shannon, his two boys, and his stepchildren.”

BMR mandolinist, Keith Garrett, shared, “Randall was a great tenor singer and band member, but more importantly he was a great friend. I will miss getting the chance to hang out with him and pick and sing. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Justin Jenkins, BMR banjoist, added, “Randall was more than a band mate and a friend, he was a brother. His talent was undeniable if you heard him. If you knew him personally, you knew he loved his family and friends and more importantly, the Lord. I will forever cherish the memories I had with him and will miss him dearly. See you on the other side brother!”

Resonator guitarist with BMR, Brandon Bostic, said “Randall was a great band mate, and an even better friend. He was always quick to lend a helping hand or crack a joke in a tense moment. Although I’ll miss performing with him, the things I’ll always carry with me are the late-night hotel room guitar pulls, exploring whatever town we might be in to find a great pub, and the seemingly endless string of Sling Blade quotes. Rest easy, Randy…you tuning SOB!”

Tim Tipton, BMR (and former Brand New Strings) bassist, concluded, “Randall and I were instant friends from the first time we met. His infectious personality made everything we ever did together fun. He was a friend to everyone, unconditionally, and I loved him just the same! We have traveled many miles and played music all over the country together, but now he is playing and singing that high tenor in a heavenly bluegrass band. My continued thoughts and prayers are with his family! Rest easy, Randy!”

Randall Massengill is survived by his wife, Shannon Massengill; children: Levi Massengill, Luke Massengill, Brooke Mullins, Amber Mullins, and Derek Mullins; parents: Charles and Phyllis Massengill.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Midway Baptist Church in New Tazewell, TN. Funeral services will be conducted on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. again at Midway Baptist. Graveside Service will follow at the England Cemetery in Tazewell.

R.I.P., Randall Massengill.

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About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.