Shelly Gail Morris
News & Observer
It’s a cold, moonlit evening and there’s music piercing the air and storytelling warming a room full of restless hearts. Am I downtown? Am I in a bar? No, I’m in Nolensville in Buddy Norris’ living room. Buddy has been bringing original, down home music to his home in Nolensville for eight years. His vision to leave the crowded bars behind and enjoy an intimate setting became a reality with his first house concert in 2011. Buddy’s Place was born out of his longing to support the singer songwriter community and truly showcase their talent. He has hosted fifty-five shows and welcomed eighty-one artists. And, his dream is just beginning.
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Buddy is the kindhearted brother you always wanted to have. That could be because he has four older sisters, “smothers”- he lovingly calls them. He was born in Macon, Georgia into a large family that shared a love for music. They regularly sang together in church. Buddy’s father had an extensive vinyl collection. His favorites were Marty Robbins, Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves and Ray Price. They listened together for many hours. Buddy developed an appreciation for all aspects of music. He studied fine arts at Georgia Southern University and toured the country with the contemporary Christian group, Truth.
He moved to Nashville in 1999 and hasn’t stopped since. He volunteers at The Country Music Hall of Fame Museum. He has logged over five hundred, fifty volunteer hours and was recently honored at a dinner with a few other select volunteers. That’s a real accomplishment. He recently posed for a selfie with Lorretta Lynn, one of his all-time favorite singers. He volunteers at Ronald McDonald House, Graceworks, Feed the Children, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Franklin TN through his work’s Community outreach program. Busy man, right? Helping out and giving back gives him closeness to his community and will always be important to him. Buddy follows his heart. An example we can all admire and appreciate.
He came up with the idea for Buddy’s Place house concerts when he met Jesse Terry, a super talented waiter. (Isn’t that always the case in Nashville?) Terry had an amazing gift for singing and songwriting and had several friends who did as well. He shared his aspirations with Buddy. They decided to get their friends together and enjoy a night of music. Paul Sikes and Charlie Worsham rounded out the talent for the evening. Buddy’s Place was born.
The concerts are held once a month in Buddy’s living room in Nolensville. In the past eight years he has welcomed Matt Jenkins, Kelsea Ballerini, Paul Sikes, Marion Grace, Stevenson Everett, Carley Peace, Brett Young, Michael Logen, Janelle Arthur, Ryan Larkins, Levi Kreis (a Tony Award winner) and many others. Eight artists have signed record deals. Several have penned top twenty hits for other artists. The shows are scheduled monthly with a small ticket price. The capacity is forty guests. Each person brings a snack to share. The night features three artists in a close acoustic setting. Each takes a turn describing and crooning their original ballads.
I have personally attended two of the concerts. The quaint evening is like no other venue in Tennessee. It’s not just entertaining, it’s like watching a close friend. You get to know the performers.
Their stories about chasing the dream, singing to empty seats, finding a hook, wife approval, giving up, staying positive and being drunk in a hotel room in Chester, Virginia are truly inspiring. I kept thinking, what a difficult journey. They live by the notion that; one song can change your life. I adore that philosophy. Each artist addressed a few of the struggles they face. I wondered how they stayed so focused. I was in awe. All the artists were upbeat and uplifting to one another and everyone in the room. They were a truly humble group. The colorful lights lit up their hopeful faces as they shared their ups and downs in a truly personal way. And the music, top notch—I mean these people could sing at Bridgestone Arena and leave fans satisfied. Afterwards, you find yourself rooting for the artist and eager to follow his or her journey. There’s an unmatched appreciation of talent and true fans are born.
In 2015, Buddy added Ellen Huddleston as a partner. She told me, she’s not just a music fan, she’s a Buddy fan. Sweet, right? Both work busy full-time jobs, yet both are passionate about growing Buddy’s Place and keeping the small-town feel. They long to find an older home or vintage setting to continue the monthly concerts and accommodate a few more people. The evenings are currently by invitation only due to limited space. (I suggest getting on a cancellation list). Occasionally, they do acquire a larger venue. His fiftieth show was held at Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Nashville. Watch his website for openings and sign up for the mailing list at www.Buddysplacenashville.com. Be sure to like Buddy’s Place Facebook page, and follow his events on Instagram @Buddysplacenashville.
On a non-musical note, Buddy collects crazy socks. He has one hundred and thirty-two pairs of unique socks. There are patterns, animals, stripes, foods, holidays and remarkable colors. He will gladly give you a glimpse of his whimsical attire. Another way he spreads a
bit of joviality.
It was a pleasure to meet Buddy Norris, such an upbeat and positive person. I believe that Buddy will be bringing music to Nolensville for a very long time. I look forward to all the artists he will be featuring and the expansion of his novel house concert idea. Who doesn’t enjoy a room
full of love?
Shelly Gail Morris
I have one husband, two grown boys, one daughter-in-law, one stunning granddaughter, and three white cats. I’ve penned four humorous, fiction titles, available on Amazon in many formats, or in paperback at the one and only Shabby Lane Shop, downtown Nolensville!