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Tennessee Shines – 5/8 – Chatham County Line / Dori Freeman / Kody Norris Show

May 8 @ 7:00 pm $30

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Join hosts Jim Lauderdale and EmiSunshine for Tennessee Shines with Chatham County Line, Dori Freeman, and Kody Norris Show!


“The best music is made with complete total freedom,” says Chatham County Line singer/guitarist Dave Wilson. “We spent a lot of years pushing at the fences, but with this album, we’ve finally busted out of the corral.”

Hiyo, Chatham County Line’s tenth studio release, is indeed something of a reintroduction to the North Carolina roots stalwarts, one fueled by new sounds, new collaborators, and a whole new lease on life. Recorded at Asheville’s Echo Mountain studio with co-producer/engineer Rachael Moore (Kacey Musgraves, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss), the collection finds Wilson and bandmates John Teer (fiddle/mandolin) and Greg Readling (bass/pedal steel) embracing change at every turn, experimenting with fresh sonic palettes and innovative approaches to their core instrumentation. The songwriting remains classic Chatham County Line here—rich, evocative tales of love and heartbreak, joy and sorrow, righteousness and revenge—but the settings have evolved to incorporate synthesizers, drum machines, and more electric guitar and percussion than ever before. Given the group’s string band roots and decades spent singing around a single microphone, the results are nothing short of revelatory, taking an enduring sound and injecting it with a thrilling new spirit of discovery and vitality.

“We’re having more fun playing together now than we’ve ever had before,” says Wilson. “There’s this liberating element to getting rid of all the preconceptions about who we are and what we sound like, and I think it shows in these songs.”

Launched a little more than twenty years ago in Raleigh, North Carolina, Chatham County Line built a devoted local following on the strength of their genre-bending live show—an intoxicating blend of bluegrass, folk, country, and rock and roll—before breaking out internationally with their 2003 self-titled debut. In the years to come, the band would go on to release eight more critically acclaimed studio albums, top the Billboard Bluegrass Chart four times, collaborate with the likes of Judy Collins, Sharon Van Etten, and Norwegian star Jonas Fjeld, earn two gold records in Norway (where they were also twice nominated for the Spellemannprisen, Norway’s equivalent of a Grammy), and share bills with everyone from Guy Clark and Lyle Lovett to Steve Martin & Martin Short and The Avett Brothers. NPR hailed the group as “a bridge between bluegrass traditions and a fresh interpretation of those influences,” while Uncut lauded their “powerful melodies and gorgeous harmonies,” and Pitchfork dubbed their music “timeless.” Nothing lasts forever, though, and when Chatham County Line shared their most recent album, 2020’s Strange Fascination, they announced it would be their final release with banjo player Chandler Holt.

“When Chandler retired, replacing him with another banjo player didn’t feel like the right move,” says Readling. “Choosing to instead add a drummer to our touring lineup gave us the freedom to evolve while still honoring Chandler’s rich history with us.”

During a stint serving as the backing band on the Showtime series George & Tammy, Chatham County Line met the woman who would help kick that evolution into high gear.

“We had an immediate rapport with Rachael on set,” Teer recalls. “She was the right-hand woman to T Bone Burnett, who was the music producer on the show before he handed the reins over to her, and she had this incredible knowledge of music and recording. Watching her work with Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain, who starred in the show, was eye opening, and it seemed obvious that she would be a perfect fit for our next album.”

The songs that were taking shape at the time were unlike anything else in the Chatham County Line catalog. In the absence of Holt, Wilson had begun playing electric guitar more, tuning his Stratocaster to open G and approaching it like a banjo. He also fashioned a pickup for his acoustic that allowed him to simultaneously cover guitar and bass parts, which freed up Readling to play dreamy, atmospheric pedal steel accompaniments. Teer, meanwhile, found himself experimenting with unusual sounds on his mandolin, running it through a mellotron pedal to create lush, warm beds for the music to float on.

“We’d been embracing a new approach to our live show ever since Chandler retired, and it was a natural progression to bring that into the recording process,” Readling explains. “We’d always pushed the envelope before, but having a new lineup really felt like the green light we needed to put anything and everything on the table in the studio.”

By the time the band began tracking with Moore, they’d already recorded multiple versions of the songs on their own, which allowed them to get progressively tighter and more daring with the material.

“I could tell the guys were ready to go somewhere new, and I wanted to see how far we could stretch the boundaries,” Moore recalls. “We agreed we’d still do things thoughtfully and be true to who they were, but they all have very eclectic, wide-ranging tastes and influences, and ten albums into their career, this felt like a chance to explore some springs that they maybe hadn’t gotten to tap into before.”

That adventurous spirit is easy to hear on Hiyo, which opens with the rousing “Right On Time.” Building from a dreamy instrumental swirl into a rollicking, harmony-driven ode to young love and the open road, the track balances nostalgia and modernity in equal measure as it sets the stage for a subtly virtuosic album that marries traditional and experimental elements with understated ease. The hypnotic “Heaven” pairs a lo-fi drum machine with verbed out electric guitar and harmonica in a tribute to barstool nirvana, while the tongue-in-cheek “Lone Ranger” meditates on the playful side of love amidst the band’s trademark harmonies and a droning harmonium, and the lush “Magic” brings together arpeggiated synthesizers and gently plucked banjo in a celebration of the mysterious power of music itself.

“We go to concerts to be amazed and dumbfounded, to laugh and cry, to dream and fall in love,” Wilson explains. “When we play a show, it’s not just music. It’s magic.”

Magic is everywhere you look on Hiyo. The swampy “BSR” conjures up the sweltering heat of the Delta South; a spellbinding take on Hank Cochran’s “She’s Got You” transforms the country staple into something wholly new and mesmerizing; and the eerily cinematic “Way Down Yonder” fuses past and present in a reimagining of the old school murder ballad form with a little help from vocalist Maya de Vitry and a pair of Moore’s friends, fiddler John Mailander (Bruce Hornsby, Billy Strings) and drummer Jamie Dick (Watchhouse, Rhiannon Giddens), whose unique voicings and subtle flourishes consistently elevate the band’s performances throughout the record. It’s perhaps album closer “Summerline,” though, that best encapsulates Chatham County Line’s limitless approach to the album, bringing together hints of the Great American Songbook and vintage jazz alongside classic folk and country to form something that’s at once deeply familiar and entirely unexpected.

“This whole process was a breath of fresh air, and I’d lie awake at night while we were recording in disbelief that we could capture these sounds,” Wilson reflects. “This album is the three of us distilled down into the purest essence of what this band can be, and there’s nothing more freeing than that.”


Dori Freeman has sharpened her vision of Appalachian Americana over five studio albums. From the country traditionalism of her self-titled debut to the amplified folk of Ten Thousand Roses, it’s a sound that nods to her mountain-town roots even as it reaches beyond them. Freeman continues creating her own musical geography with Do You Recall, the songwriter’s most eclectic — and electric — record yet.

Like a counterpart to Ten Thousand Roses — the 2021 release that found Freeman trading the acoustic textures of her earlier work for a more expansive, electrified version of American roots music — Do You Recall nods to the full range of Freeman’s influences and abilities. She still sings with the unforced vibrato of a classic folksinger, but she’s more of a modern trailblazer than a throwback traditionalist, funneling her Blue Ridge roots into a contemporary sound that’s both broad and bold.

“I grew up in a family that played a lot of traditional music, but my dad played a lot of other types of music for me, too,” says Freeman, who grew up in rural Galax, Virginia. “I’d go fiddler’s conventions, but I’d also watch my dad play jazz, swing, country, and rock & roll. He was a big fan of singer-songwriters. I think that variety has a lot to do with the way my own songwriting has developed.”

After traveling to New York City to record her first three albums with producer Teddy Thompson (son of folk-rock icons Richard and Linda Thompson), Freeman chose to stay in Virginia for the Ten Thousand Roses sessions. She remained there for the creation of Do You Recall, too, tapping drummer Nicholas Falk — her husband, as well as a touring member of Hiss Golden Messenger — to produce. The two musicians worked out of a small, timber-framed recording studio in the couple’s own backyard, tracking songs during the daytime hours while their daughter attended school. Grounded in sharp songwriting and layered with electric guitar, organ, pedal steel, percussion, and vocal harmonies, Do You Recall finds Freeman delivering tales about motherhood, marriage, and life in modern-day Appalachia.

The results are as stunning as they are diverse. On “Why Do I Do This To Myself,” Freeman nods to the glory days of ’90s country with a combination of pop hooks and amplified power chords. She gets psychedelic with “River Runs,” lacing the folksong (which she wrote alongside Falk) with banjo, feedback, and hazy clouds of reverb. Her longtime champion Teddy Thompson sings harmony on “Good Enough,” whose nostalgic keyboard textures evoke the garage-rock era, while her father contributes to “Laundromat” — in which Freeman nurses a broken heart by turning to the washing machine and running a load of colors, taking solace in life’s more mundane tasks — as a co-writer. For Freeman, who penned every song on her previous albums without outside help, collaborating with other writers marks another milestone in her evolution as a singer, storyteller, and songwriter.

That evolution is highlighted by songs like “Soup Beans Milk and Bread” and “They Do It’s True,” two songs that ground themselves in Freeman’s experience as an Appalachian native who’s traveled the country for years, broadening her horizons far beyond the Blue Ridge. Both tunes explore the physical beauty, social challenges, and musical hallmarks of the area, and Freeman sings them with warmth and unflinching honesty. “I want people to associate different things with Appalachia than what’s become the standard,” she says. “You can’t define this area as one thing. I know my perspective on it, and I love sharing that perspective and representing Appalachia in my own way.”

Do You Recall offers a closer look at Dori Freeman’s brand of expansive Americana. It’s an album that both reaffirms her roots and reaches past them, exploring the sounds and stories that lay between traditional formats. Freeman does her best work in those gray areas, bringing her own color to a sound that’s varied, versatile, and unmistakably her own. She’s still proud of her Appalachian heritage. With Do You Recall, though, she’s making her own traditions.


Because while the reigning SPBGMA Entertainers of the Year are known for the rhinestones that shine from their lapels and the fringe that hangs from their collars seem to conjure up memories of times gone by, The Kody Norris Show are very much directing their gaze forever forward.

Now, more than ever before.

The talented group, made up of frontman Kody Norris, Josiah Tyree, Mary Rachel Nalley-Norris, and Charlie Lowman, finds themselves with a growing legion of fans craving the comfort that comes from their retro look, but equally craving dynamic instrumentation and thought-provoking lyrics – all of which can be heard throughout their epic new album Rhinestone Revival.

“There is a whole chapter of country music that’s just kind of faded away,” The Kody Norris Show’s frontman once said. “I believe The Kody Norris Show has been instrumental in bringing back some of that nostalgia and some of that classic look that country music and bluegrass music used to have.”

The foundations of the electrifying four-piece band can be found within the roots of Kody Norris himself, a once inquisitive youngster from Mountain City, Tennessee who would spend hours sitting in the passenger seat of his Uncle Jack’s Chevrolet El Camino listening to the entirety of The Stanley Brothers 16 Greatest Hits tape, wondering if he would ever be able to match the sweet harmonies coming through the speakers.

It was those very harmonies that Norris also would recognize wavering through the rafters of the Baptist church he attended as a kid. There was a bluegrass quartet that would play in the Free Will Baptist Church, and soon Norris became infatuated with the music that could materialize from a banjo and a guitar. So, at nine years old, he picked up the mandolin.

And he never put it down.

It was a similar love affair of music for Mary Rachel Nalley-Norris, who started playing classical violin in the fourth grade, but by the fifth grade, she knew it wasn’t for her. Instead, in a quest to differentiate herself from her musical counterparts in her grade school orchestra, she took up the fiddle. She began playing the festival circuit alongside the likes of the legendary Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers and soon became one of the most dynamic females on those festival stages.

It was on that stage she eventually met her husband Kody, who had already gone on to play alongside the likes of Ralph Stanley, Ralph Stanley II, and Joe Isaacs throughout his already impressive career. In 2017, banjo extraordinaire Josiah Tyree signed on with The Kody Norris Show, and soon his old-time clawhammer style fit right into the bluegrass style that the band was becoming known for across the country. And when bass player Charlie Lowman joined in on the fun, armed with a giddiness and love for the music that he plays that soon became infectious, The Kody Norris Show as we now know it was complete.

It was musical magic at its finest.

It’s this easy-going nature that became downright illuminated on 2017’s When I Get the Money Made, which was named Bluegrass Album of the Year by the National Traditional Country Music Association. The Kody Norris Show followed it up with 2019’s All Suited Up, which debuted at #7 on the Billboard charts. Now playing over 100 dates a year across the country and around the world, The Kody Norris Show have been part of the University of Chicago Folk Festival and are part of two weekly programs on the acclaimed RFD-TV’s network, The Cumberland Highlanders Show and The Bluegrass Trail.

But with the release of Rhinestone Revival comes a feeling that listeners have just begun to witness The Kody Norris Show’s very own revival, as the band finds themselves sprinkling their iconic rhinestones on a few different music genres to solidify their place on the musical landscape.

And the fans can’t get enough.

In fact, it’s those fans that have raised The Kody Norris Show to a place in which they stand today, a place where the four-piece, multi-instrumentalist, bluegrass band are quickly becoming four of the most epic entertainers of our time. Add that to the songwriting displayed on the Kody Norris-penned “Baltimore I’m Leaving,” “Fiddler’s Rock,” “Please Tell Me Why,” and the infectious “Gotta Get My Baby Back” on Rhinestone Revival, and there is no doubt that The Kody Norris Show is as current as ever.

They ain’t retro. They have something different. They have something uniquely theirs. They have something that makes them stand out.

“We want people to know who we are,” Norris once said.

And they will.


Tennessee Shines is supported by Tennessee Stone and Visit Knoxville.



May 8
7:00 pm
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Bijou Theatre
803 South Gay Street
Knoxville, TN 37902 United States
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