Standing on stage in the sweltering heat of a July 4 weekend, The Kody Norris Show accepted the Blue Blaze Award at the 51st annual Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree. The honor gives kudos to a group or individual that “keeps the embers of bluegrass music glowing for future generations.”
“Our mission is first and foremost to carry the music on, to play it forward, and to try to get a younger audience involved all the time so that 80 years down the road we still have bluegrass and traditional country music,” front man Kody Norris told Bluegrass Today July 2 on his tour bus prior to receiving the award. “That’s our goal. An organization like this—they’re all about preserving things that matter, and in my opinion country music really matters. I feel wholeheartedly that this organization will go on for many years.”
Norris, along with his bandmates Mary Rachel Nalley-Norris (fiddle), Josiah Tyree (banjo), and Cousin Charlie Lowman (bass), performed for the enthusiastic Jamboree crowd.
“Everybody’s kind of giving us a forewarning on the heat,” Norris said before the show. “We’re going to try to really do a good job today. I think there will be a whole lot of eyes on us. We’re utterly excited and so happy to be a part of this.”
Norris grew up around the contests scene in places similar to the Jamboree in Smithville, TN.
“I played a lot of contests growing up in east Tennessee, southwest Virginia, and North Carolina—just the hotbed of the contest world up there. I’ve even been a contest judge quite a bit. Actually, Josiah Tyree, my banjo player, I saw him the first time I was judging the contest at the Wilson County Fair in Lebanon. He won the contest that day. I had my eye on him for quite some time. Contests are very near and dear to my heart.”
Past recipients of the Blue Blaze award include Sierra Hull, Danny Roberts of The Grascals, Darrin Vincent, Jamie Dailey, Ronnie Reno, Michael Cleveland, and Tennessee Mafia Jug Band.