“I was born to play music. Country Music. Western Swing. It moves me, moves my soul. If I hear those fiddles start playing with a good steel guitar and good rhythm section my ears perk up. That’s what I’m known for: a driving Texas dance beat. I want those people to dance to my music. If that floor isn’t full, then I’m not doing my job.”
Jody Nix lives on a farm near Big Spring that has been in his family nearly 100 years. His grandmother bought him a set of drums when he was 4. His father was Hoyle Nix, who had a popular western swing band. Jody started paying drums for his dad in 1960 when he was 8. Hoyle’s drummer got sick and he asked Jody to help out for a gig at the American Legion in Brownfield. Two weeks later the drummer quit and Jody got the job. “I was a fulltime musician and going to school every day,” says Jody. “I’d go play somewhere with the band, get home about 3 AM, take a nap and go to school. Next day, same thing. We played 5 nights a week. I got to play with my dad 25 years.” He started playing fiddle when he was 11. “I got my first full size fiddle for Christmas, 1963. My brother Larry taught me to play. New Year’s Eve I was still drumming, but daddy called me up to play FADED LOVE in front of the whole crowd. That was the first time I played fiddle in public, New Year’s Eve 1963.”
He played it at THE STAMPEDE, a legendary dance hall Hoyle built in 1954. When Hoyle died in 1985, Jody took over. “It was either let everything go or try it. I didn’t want to let it go.” Faron Young, Ernest Tubb and other top ranked musicians asked Jody to be in their bands, but Jody stuck to his roots. He knew about the music side of things, but not the business side. But he learned. “Praise God it has worked,” says Jody. “The longer I did it the easier it got. Here it is 35 years later and I’m still going and have people wanting us a year and a half away.” He has played in Nashville, Las Vegas, Branson and Washington DC, but he says most of his income comes from Texas. He and his band make 120 appearances a year and get invited back a lot. “I just celebrated playing the Bob Wills Day in Turkey, Texas my 45th year. I’ve played at the Stamford Rodeo 35 years straight.” Jody plays left-handed, even though his fiddle is made for a right-handed player. “I don’t know of many left-handed fiddle players except the one I was named after, Joe Holly. He played for Bob Wills. They called him Jody.”
Jody has produced 11 albums, composed songs, is on satellite radio in strong rotation and played country swing for 60 years. One of his highlights was playing for the inauguration of George HW Bush in 1989. Another was playing drums for Bob Wills when he was 4 and again at 21. Another was when Gene Autry handed him a Western Wrangler award at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. He has won several honors, is in numerous music halls of fame and is the current Man of the Year in Big Spring, recognized by the Chamber of Commerce at its annual banquet. “It is an honor beyond measure to have that title,” says Jody.