A songwriter’s canvas is the paper that he is writing on. For Cody Hixon, his canvas is the leather he is working with. Over fifteen years of hard work and lessons learned have shaped his skills as a leather craftsman. With his business, Great Point Custom Leather Works, Hixon has outfitted many legendary celebrities from Shooter Jennings to Charlie Daniels, and most recently Toby Keith. His impressive work showcases intricate details as each piece is unique in its own. Hixon is becoming one of the most sought-after leather craftsman from Knoxville, Tennessee.
Cody Hixon began learning on his own after purchasing the Waylon Jennings custom shop model that Fender released. “My ex-wife ran off with it when she left and wouldn’t give it back. So I said, heck I’ll just make my own. I called up a guy in Montana and got some leather. It was definitely trial and error,” Hixon noted on his humble beginnings. The first item he was commissioned to make an item was Waylon’s son, Shooter Jennings. “I done a guitar for Joe Perry of Aerosmith back in 2005 and then after that, it was Shooter, doing the telecaster for him.” Soon with word of mouth from Shooter plus his band members helped with business gaining new customers.
These days, you can see his work on a wide range of celebrities, from Johnny Knoxville and a custom belt, to Jamey Johnson. Johnson currently released, “The Guitar Song,” and fans can see photos that include Hixon’s guitar strap being used in advertisements. In recalling seeing the advertisements, both in print and on television, Hixon said, “basically with the commercials on TV on the time, it is pretty amazing.” His work has also made it to the stage with other performers, with clientele such as Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn, Toby Keith, Lee Ann Womack, Blake Shelton, Kris Kristofferson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, Dave Matthews, Willie Nelson, Travis Tritt, Chad Warrix, Billy Joe Shaver, and many more.
A lot of hours are placed into each order for the detailed and quality of work in each piece. Hixon noted that it normally took 20-25 hours for a guitar strap, 40-50 hours for an electric guitar cover and for an acoustic guitar cover, it usually takes over 80 hours. All the work is out of Cody’s home.
Looking back, Cody’s favorite piece is the Waylon Jennings guitar that he completed for Shooter. “It got everything going and connections that shoot out from there. The fact that he’s still playing it and proud of it is really great.”
Beyond music items, Hixon’s work is featured on the front desk of the Surrey Hotel in New York City. “That was about a four month projects. It was four big eight foot panels that were tooled and six thousand tacks. I did each one by hand, so that was quite a big ordeal.” He also completed custom leather purses, wallets, cuffs, belts, portfolios, and even wall hangings for the home or business.
One of the biggest yearly competitions is the World Leather Debut held out in Sheridan, Wyoming. “I received third place in 2008 out of quite a few hundred. It’s basically the Super Bowl of Leather.” The World Leather Debut features educational and innovative products from leather craftsmen from across the globe.
To order a custom leather item, you can contact Cody Hixon through his website at www.greatpointcustomleatherworks.com. Give him an idea of what you would like to order. From there, he will sketch it out, email it to you, and then the process is started once he confirms what you want.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website with over 20 years experience in music journalism, concert planning, photography, and promotion. Jessica is a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the 2019 Leadership Kentucky BRIGHT Class and a recipient of the Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award. Listen to her each week on WFKY on Friday mornings for the Nashville News Roundup.