The Kody Norris Show - Rhinestone Revival
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Rhinestone Revival (Rebel, 2023)

The Kody Norris Show

Reviewed by Donald Teplyske

The Kody Norris Show presents traditionally-based, 'good 'n country' bluegrass, music that is original, exciting and unabashedly bluegrass. With "Rhinestone Revival" the group continues to advance their interpretation of the music, one appreciated by those who look to the Jimmy Martin tradition as ideal.

Originals enlighten Norris' devotion to the art. His songs could have been written at any point since 1957. "Gotta Get My Baby Back" gets love a'moving while "Please Tell Me Why" is as good-a tears and beers two-stepper as you'll find within the genre.

"Baltimore I'm Leaving" shares a different perspective of the "Streets of Baltimore" situation, an earthier, 'country boy' take closer to the Osborne Brothers than Harlan Howard with a terrific guitar kick-off. The mountain song "Fiddler's Rock" provides words of caution, an intense banjo groove, and fine twin fiddle from guest Jason Barie and Mary Rachel Nalley-Norris, who is married to Kody.

We've heard "Endless Highway" (Nalley-Norris takes the vocal lead) and "I Call Her Sunshine" previously, of course, but not lately, and their interpretation of "Otto Wood" is as good as it gets.

"Let All the Girls Know You're A Cowboy" has more double entendres than typically found within bluegrass. The excellent lead track "Mountain Rosalie" reaches back into the Ralph Stanley canon (and further).

The lineup has remained consistent with Norris handling the lead and rhythm guitar while singing most leads. Nalley-Norris is primarily featured as fiddler and harmony singer, and Josiah Tyree remains a favorite banjo player no one discusses. He is so good with "Baltimore I'm Leaving" and "Fiddler's Rock" being particular showcases for his five-string styling; his subtle support on "Please Tell Me Why" is further appreciated, and his surprise lead turn on "I Call Her Sunshine" only adds to the album's appeal. Bassman Charlie Lowman keeps things steady.

"Rhinestone Revival" provides ample evidence that the group has all the creative instrumental and vocal harmony skills we expect from A-level bluegrass bands.

CDs by The Kody Norris Show

Rhinestone Revival, 2023

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