Norman Blake

Norman L. Blake (born March 10, 1938) is a traditional American stringed instrument artist and songwriter. He is half of the eponymous Norman & Nancy Blake band with his wife, Nancy Blake.

Blake was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and grew up in Sulphur Springs, Alabama. He listened to old-time and country music on the radio by the Carter Family, the Skillet Lickers, Roy Acuff, and the Monroe Brothers (Charlie and Bill Monroe). He learned guitar at age 11 or 12, then mandolin, dobro, and fiddle in his teens. When he was 16, he dropped out of school to play music professionally.

In the 1950s, Blake joined the Dixieland Drifters and performed on radio broadcasts, then joined the Lonesome Travelers. When he was drafted in 1961, he served as an Army radio operator in the Panama Canal Zone. He started a popular band known as the Kobbe Mountaineers. A year later, while he was on leave, he recorded the album Twelve Shades of Bluegrass with the Lonesome Travelers.

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