Upper body shot of Alvie in a field with a dreadnought guitar

Alvie Dooms

Ava, Missouri

Alvie Dooms and his guitar, 2013 (from Old-Time Music and Ozark Heritage Festival)

Fort Smith

Players: Bob Holt, fiddle; Alvie Dooms, guitar; Jim Beeler, banjo; Ted Heavner, guitar; Patty Beeler, bass

From the Rounder CD “Got a Little Home to Go To” (1998).

Ninth of January

Players: Bob Holt, fiddle; Alvie Dooms, guitar; Jim Beeler, rhythm banjo; Patty Beeler, bass; Ted Heavner, guitar

Excerpted from “Got a Little Home To Go To” produced by Rounder Records. The story goes that Bob played this tune for a square dance and was asked what tune it was. Bob said it was “The Eighth of January.” The person who asked the question shook his head and said, “That’s not the ‘Eighth of January’.” Bob replied, “Well, then, it’s the ‘Ninth of January’!”

Rabbit in a Pea Patch

Players: Bob Holt, fiddle; Harley Newberry, guitar; Betty Newberry, bass; Alvie Dooms, guitar; Jim Beeler, banjo

From the tape “Rabbit in a Pea Patch.”

Two men standing on a gravel road, holding a fiddle and a guitar, laughing

Alvie Dooms (r) with Bob Holt (photograph by Allen Gage, from Bittersweet, Spring 1982)

Alvie Dooms, of Ava, Missouri, is Bob Holt’s longtime preferred guitar player. Bob’s dance-driven style was particularly demanding of a guitar player, requiring precise rhythm, economical technique, and sheer stamina. Playing at blistering speeds for an entire evening is far more physically demanding for the guitarist than for the fiddler, and it’s a rare bird who could truly keep up, and create the absolutely locked-in wall of rhythm necessary to provide a foundation for the dancing.  Alvie does all of the above.

He also typifies the Ozark approach to Missouri chords, which often substitutes the VI minor for the IV in one part of a tune, giving a more plaintive, haunted edge to tunes that are played straighter if you go further north.

Besides his guitar skills, Alvie is a well-known fiddle repairman and dealer. From his repair headquarters at his kitchen table, Alvie has used his trusty penknife to set up everyone from young kids just starting out to nationally-known masters.