Bristol, Tenn.-Va. (December 1, 2021) – Join us for a night of music and merriment as part of the studio audience for A Radio Bristol Christmas, Friday, December 17 at 7:00 p.m. ET in the Performance Theater at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, featuring special guests The Kody Norris Show and Martha Spencer & Larry Sigmon. The program will be hosted by Radio Bristol’s Kris Trueslen and his band Bill and the Belles.
“We’re excited to bring a live holiday special to our Radio Bristol community featuring some of Radio Bristol’s most familiar faces,” said Truelsen. “Celebrate the holidays with Radio Bristol and the Birthplace of Country Music!”
Call it retro, hillbilly, bluegrass or rockabilly, The Kody Norris Show strives for something Kody calls “dern good entertainment.” Deeply rooted in North American folk music, Norris has crafted a performance that harkens back and tips a hat to the traditions of Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin’s showmanship, The Stanley Brothers’ harmonies, performances of The Grand Ole Opry, and a bit of vaudeville. Top notch picking is center stage, but humor and visual flash are part of the entertainment package. Always clad in colorful, tailored suits adorned with rhinestones, ties, classic hats and ornate boots, the band earns the moniker as a “show.” The band is traditional, clean cut, acoustic and always entertaining.”
The Kody Norris Show’s album When I Get The Money Made was named 2017 Bluegrass Album of the Year by the National Traditional Country Music Association. It was also honored with seven nominations in the 2018 Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA).
Larry Sigmon was born in Callaway, Virginia. His father, Lewis Eldridge Sigmon, was a locally beloved banjo and fiddle player. Larry taught himself harmonica as a child, and then moved to guitar, learning to play by backing up his father. When he took up the banjo at fifteen, it became his main instrument, and he developed a signature hard-driving, rhythmic style. Larry’s first band was the Sugar Hill Ramblers, a six-piece group that performed old time tunes and old country numbers for six years. He went on to play stints with Carl Scott and Richard Bowman until the late 1980s, when he met bassist Barbara Poole at a local fiddler’s convention.
Larry and Barbara began performing together, winning countless ribbons in banjo, bass, and folk song competitions and playing at festivals, dances, and other concert venues. Their sound was so distinctive with just the banjo, bass, and Larry’s distinct singing, they became known as the “unique sound” and gained a dedicated local following, particularly among flatfoot dancers. Larry and Barbara drew upon a repertoire of old time and bluegrass songs from Charlie Poole to Jimmy Martin and Bill Monroe, making songs their own through Larry’s strong vocals and Barbara’s double-slap bass. Throughout their 18-year career, the duo performed at The Carter Family Fold, the Grand Ole Opry, and at mountain music festivals throughout the south, becoming one of the most popular bands in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In 2008 Barbara passed away after a long battle with cancer, and Larry quit performing.
Old-time musician and advocate Martha Spencer met Larry when she contacted him to do an interview for an online documentary project she was working on, Mountain Music Magazine. Like Larry, Martha was raised in a musical family, the daughter of acclaimed old time musicians Thornton and Emily Spencer and a longtime member of their family group, the Whitetop Mountain Band. During their interview, Martha encouraged Larry to play some tunes, joining him on bass and playing Barbara’s signature spirited double-slap style. The two took to each other immediately, and the “unique sound” was reborn.
Based in Johnson City, Tennessee, Bill and the Belles is known for combining a stringband format with their signature harmonies, candid songwriting, and pop sensibilities. Composed of Truelsen on guitar, fiddler Kalia Yeagle, banjo/banjo-uke player Aidan Van Suetendael, and bassist Andrew Small, the group has a knack for saying sad things with a bit of an ironic smirk and revels in the in-between. Deeply engaged with the stringband tradition and eager to stretch those influences to a contemporary setting, the band’s latest album Happy Again is full of life, humor, and tongue-in-cheek explorations of love and loss.
Tickets to be part of the live audience for A Radio Bristol Christmas are on sale now for $35. Ticket buyers are required the show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours or proof of vaccination for entry. A Radio Bristol Christmas will stream live on Radio Bristol’s Facebook page for free and is also available for listening on the air at WBCM Radio Bristol 100.1 FM in the Bristol area and through the station’s free mobile app.
For tickets and more information about Radio Bristol programming, visit the Events page a BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org.