Album Review of
All Suited Up

Written by Joe Ross
May 9, 2021 - 12:48am EDT
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Bluegrass fans would have a hard time not liking the gutsy, high-lonesome songs of the neo-traditional Kody Norris Show. The show features some exceptional musicians with a high entertainment quotient when they perform their brand of driving bluegrass in custom-tailored decorative suits, ties, boots and hats. From Mountain City, Tennessee, band members include Kody Norris (guitar, lead vocals), Mary Rachel Nalley-Norris (fiddle, mandolin), Josiah Tyree (banjo) and Mark Fain (bass). The band’s ten year history includes one self-produced album in 2017, When I Get the Money Made that won the National Traditional Country Music Association’s award for Bluegrass Album of the Year.

All Suited Up is their debut for Rebel Records and also includes co-producer Darin Aldridge’s mandolin, harmony vocals, as well as Jason Barie’s harmony fiddle on five tracks. The Kody Norris Show demonstrates their strong understanding and familiarity with first generation artists like Bill Monroe, Stanley Brothers, Flatt & Scruggs and Jimmy Martin. Kody Norris is an intense singer with the kind of diction and timbre that can send chills up a bluegrass fan’s spine on songs like “Brand New Hit in Nashville,” “I’m Going Back to the Mountains,” and “Whatcha Gonna Do.” The twin fiddles on “Ole Carolina,” “Kentucky Darlin’,”  “In the Shade of the Big Buffalo,” “Let’s Go Strollin’” and “Lady of the Evening” were a smart radio-friendly move and are a very nice touch that harken back to sounds of the genre’s yesteryear. Five songs were penned by Norris, and they range from the classic country feeling in “Love Bug” to the blazing barnburner, “Farmin’ Man.” His self-penned “Lady of the Evening” could easily have been a hit for Jimmy Martin about sixty years ago.

When the band tours and performs live, I hope they’ll consider including a fifth member who regularly contributes mandolin and twin fiddle in The Show. With a little luck, that could launch them to an even higher status of traditional-sounding new bluegrass torchbearer for the 21st century. And that will surely build them a legion of fans. Without any rough edges, they’ve clearly got the bluegrass ethos, drive, professionalism, showmanship and major label support to go far.  (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)