Clyde Nokes honored by Legislature, Governor

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Bluegrass musician Clyde Nokes was recently honored by Gov. Bill Haslam and the Tennessee General Assembly for his career as well as acts of kindness.

Nokes was honored by passage of a House Joint Resolution, authored by Rep. Mark Pody.

Born in Gassaway in 1928, Nokes grew up farming and selling produce in the days before his parents, Shelah and Gertrude Nokes, opened a general store in Sycamore.

He received his first guitar, ordered from Sears and Roebucks by his father, at age 6. His friends, Gladys and Katheryn Robertson, taught him first chords. Soon his brother, Rayburn, picked up the banjo and the Nokes Brothers Band was underway.

Members of the Nokes family and friends joined Clyde for the presentation by Governor Haslam and Representative Pody.

House Joint Resolution 587 states:

"WHEREAS, it is fitting that the members of this General Assembly pay tribute to those icons of Tennessee bluegrass music who have earned the admiration and respect of both their audiences and their fellow musical artists; and

WHEREAS, Clyde Bradley Nokes is most assuredly one such bluegrass icon, who is loved and respected in his community, not only for his musical talent, but also for his random acts of kindness to help those in need; and

WHEREAS, born at his parents' home on December 13, 1928, Clyde Nokes is the second of four children born to Shelah and Gertrude Nokes, who were sharecroppers in the Gassaway community; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Nokes grew up farming and selling produce on the side of the road, before he and his father opened a general store in the Sycamore community; and

WHEREAS, his father bought Clyde his first guitar, a Stella from Sears and Roebuck that arrived by mail in a cardboard box, when he was six, and the Roberson sisters taught him his first guitar chords; and

WHEREAS, before long Mr. Nokes started playing at the general store and pie suppers, and when his brother, Rayburn, began playing banjo, they formed the Nokes Brothers' Band along with David Watts; and

WHEREAS, Clyde Nokes then married a Short Mountain girl, Maxine Hale, and they had four sons, Gerry, Nick, Bill, and Jeff, each of whom learned to play an instrument by the time he reached his teens; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Nokes's singular career spans over seventy years of performing bluegrass music in his community, and he has also played with gifted musicians such as Benny Martin, Billy Womack, Benny Williams, Carl Tipton, Dorris Macon, Graham Williams, Curly Ray Fox, Jim Ed Brown, John Hagger, Johnny Campbell, and Ernie Ashford; and

WHEREAS, he has also jammed with Josh Graves and Lester Flatt's wife, Gladys, and performed on the television series Nashville 99 in the 1970s with fiddle player Mitchell Fuston; and

WHEREAS, generous to a fault, Mr. Nokes helped purchase a mandolin for a legally blind friend as a gift, so that he might be able to fulfill his dream of learning to play; and

WHEREAS, he has been known to deliver food to people in poor health or financial distress, and along with his family and friends, Mr. Nokes has donated his time and musical talents to fundraising concerts to help others with medical and other bills; and

WHEREAS, Clyde Nokes has distinguished himself as an asset to his community, as both a musician and a humanitarian, and he should be specially recognized; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED NINTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING, that we honor and commend Clyde Bradley Nokes upon his outstanding career as a bluegrass musician, thank him for his many good works to benefit his community, and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

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