Local Singer A Rising Star

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When Cody Gibson was 6 years old, he thought all kids his age could sit down at the drums or piano and play like he could.

"I just thought it was normal, but as I got older I began to notice that other kids couldn't do what I was doing," Gibson, now 28, said.

Visibly bashful, Gibson, whose sparkling, blue eyes are often hidden in the shadow of his baseball cap, blushes at the notion of being a child prodigy, but does believe his musically inclined family has something to do with his abilities.

"Legend has it that my great-grandfather was the first musician to play on the radio in Phoenix," Gibson said, "And my grandfather played as well. Music ran in both sides of the family."

Transplants from Texas, the family brought their "Chet Atkins-style" county music with them to entertain folks in Arizona.

Generations later, the tradition lives on as Gibson awes audiences of the Rim country with his rich, melodic voice as lead vocalist of the band, Code Blue.

Gibson considers himself lucky to be supported by a cast of premier musicians in Code Blue, which include Billy Ichida on lead electric guitar, Key Bellaird on base and Terry Casper on drums.

Although, music was always important to Gibson, football was the priority for most of his college years in the Valley and later in Colorado.

"I played football in community college and ended up going to Adams State in Alamosa, Colo. on a football scholarship," Gibson said.

Getting noticed

Though Gibson was not actively performing, he continued to get noticed for his singing.

"I won a Karaoke contest in Alamosa," Gibson said, laughing.

An ankle injury ended Gibson's potential for a career in football and he soon moved back to his native Arizona.

"My parents moved up to Payson and I started spending more time up here," Gibson said.

Gibson went where most musicians go on a Friday night, to "Shakey Joe's" Songwriter's Cafe, a forum where local musicians can showcase their talent. The weekly gathering, started by musician Joe Harless, is the birthplace of many Rim country bands.

"We all met at Songwriter's Cafe," Gibson said, describing how Code Blue was formed.

It was also during one Songwriter's Cafe that Gibson got the attention of a talent scout, who put him on a plane to Tennessee.

Although Gibson waves his hand as if to dismiss the significance of the experience, he was flown to Nashville to record one of his original songs called "The Fear in Her Eyes."

"It wasn't a big deal, really," Gibson said, appearing embarrassed to discuss it.

Yet any visitor to Songwriter's Cafe will be immediately educated by the regulars that Gibson was "discovered" there.

If Gibson won't tout himself, any musician or aficionado will do it for him.

"Cody is one of those guys who says he's not prepared and still knocks you out," Harless said, as he introduced Gibson at a recent Songwriter's Cafe.

Gibson will do an occasional solo at Songwriter's Cafe, but performs mainly with Code Blue doing a selection of alternative rock, country and classic rock.

At a recent performance at the Black Bear restaurant, unbeknownst to the audience, Gibson and band completely improvised a blues number.

"Cody can come up with lyrics as he is performing," drummer Tony Menegon said. "I don't know how he does it."

Menegon filled in for Code Blue's drummer, Terry Casper, whose wife had just given birth to their baby daughter.

"Cody, Key and Billy are so talented," Menegon said. "It's been both a privilege and a challenge to play with them."

Given the attention Gibson and his band are receiving, it may not be that far a stretch from Songwriter's Cafe to Austin City Limits.

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