Robert Posey is a familiar face in the Chattanooga music scene. Robert is one of Chattanooga’s most devoted concert attendees, averaging more than ten concerts per month, and maintains a tender place in his heart for local musicians. In fact, he requested that our interview take place at a local showcase – we met up for this interview at Peet’s Coffee shop and enjoyed Danimal Pinson as he performed some honest and heartfelt acoustic tunes. Over the last few years, Robert has built relationships with local venue owners and musicians and hopes to work alongside all the stakeholders in helping to grow and improve Chattanooga’s venue scene.
What musical styles are you drawn to?
Robert: Anything Bob Dylan related. I’ve seen Dylan over 70 times. I like avant jazz and free jazz, which I go to the Barking Legs Theater to see. Psychedelic folk rock is a go–to for me. Danimal Pinson does a great job at pulling out that style of music. I also like punk rock and other rock, like Ashley and the X’s.
What has been your favorite concert to attend, both ever and locally?
Robert: My favorite concert that I’ve attended in my lifetime thus far has been Bob Dylan when he performed in Dayton, Ohio in 1999. My favorite local concert was probably just about any Sunday brunch at the Feed Co. with Danimal and Friends.
What is your perception of Chattanooga’s music scene?
Robert: The Chattanooga music scene has improved dramatically since I moved here in 2011. When I moved here, Track 29 had just opened and the only other venues in town were The Honest Pint, Rhythm ‘N Brews, and JJ’s Bohemia. Now, there are more venues and more local musicians giving it a shot playing those venues. I think that’s been the biggest change. I will say, I think we need a venue bigger than JJ’s and smaller than Revelry Room, and another venue bigger than Revelry Room but smaller than Track 29. I’m also waiting for the day that JJ’s Bohemia goes smoke free.
How does the Chattanooga music scene compare to other music scenes you’ve experienced?
Robert: I used to go to a lot of jazz shows in New York City when I lived in Trenton, NJ. The jazz scene here is almost exclusively found at the Barking Legs Theater. I’m not used to living in a place with so much bluegrass, so that’s been interesting.
What do you think about the caliber of music you see here?
Robert: Since I started volunteering with the Make Music Day Chattanooga event, I’ve been able to meet people who aren’t gigging regularly but still play at a highly skilled level. I think there are different layers of people who are always out performing and who are really good, then there are people hiding in the woodwork who are equally as talented but you don’t see as much. Then there is the open mic crowd, which can be pretty hit or miss.
One of the thing that I’d like to see Chattanooga do is to bring in a vocal coach to come in for a week and set up to do some master classes with people throughout the week. Joan Baez, a phenomenal singer who I saw in New Brunswick, stood up in front of 3,000 people and said that she’s had a voice coach since her early 30’s. If someone like Joan Baez can admit to having a voice coach for over 30 years, then I don’t think there’s shame in getting help from one. I think younger singers in our community could benefit from having voice coaches.
I go to a lot of concerts, but I’m also interested in helping out with album production. After hearing some of the local artist’s albums, I’d be interested in giving suggestions before people go into the studio because I see a lot of very talented performances in a live group setting, but when they go to record an album, I don’t think it necessarily plays to their strengths. It may be interesting, but it may not play to what their strengths are as they’re performing. When you go to as many shows as I do for how old I am, you see some things that could be helpful to people who are just starting out.
How do you think people could get more involved with the music industry?
Robert: It’s good that we have a merchandise company, Colortest, in town now. We have people who master and mix CD’s. I think we could have more people volunteer at The Studio at the library, which is such a good space for people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to a recording facility. It’s so important for music industry hopefuls to have an opportunity to study and get experience on recording equipment. We need to attract a few music industry entertainment lawyers to Chattanooga. I think we have artists who are ready to do bigger and better things, which require the advice and expertise of an entertainment lawyer to make sure they have all of their booking contracts and licensing all put together. Once that happens, that might be a good sign to prove that Chattanooga’s music industry is thriving.