Cousin Jody

b. James Clell Summey, 14 December 1914, Possum Hollow, near Sevierville, Tennessee, USA, d. 1976. The family relocated to Knoxville where he grew up in a musical environment, since both parents (Matty…
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Artist Biography

b. James Clell Summey, 14 December 1914, Possum Hollow, near Sevierville, Tennessee, USA, d. 1976. The family relocated to Knoxville where he grew up in a musical environment, since both parents (Matty and Jim) were musicians. Other musicians regularly stayed in the home and young Jody soon learned to play several instruments. He initially favoured the guitar but by 1931, was an accomplished dobro player (a relatively new instrument in those days, having only been developed in the late 20s). By 1933, he was playing local venues with a group known as the Tennessee Crackerjacks, when they were joined by Roy Acuff. He became an important member of Acuff’s band and in February 1938, when Acuff and his band played the Grand Ole Opry, he became the first player to feature the dobro there. He also provided the dobro backing on most of Acuff’s early recordings including ‘The Great Speckled Bird’ and ‘Wabash Cannonball’. After differences of opinion over material, Summey and two other band members left Acuff in January 1939. He returned to Knoxville but was soon back in Nashville, where he worked with Pee Wee King, Lonzo And Oscar and briefly as a comedy duo with Oral Rhodes, as Odie And Jody. He had played the comedian during his days with Acuff and finally became a soloOpry act in his alter ego role of the baggy-panted and toothless grinning hayseed, Cousin Jody. In this guise, he mixed rube comedy with his instrumental talents and for many years remained a very popularOpry regular. He died of cancer in 1976.