Documentary filmmaker takes a loving look at the local music scene
I’ve said many times that the Chattanooga music scene has come a long way in the past two decades, and it has. Musical diversity, a network of mutually supportive artists, and a selection of key venues that are specifically dedicated to promoting local talent are just a few of the changes that have spurred this tuneful renaissance. It doesn’t hurt that there is an exceptional array of talent in the area as well as a growing regular fan base that seems to embrace it all.
One fan in particular is using his own artistic gifts to sing the praises of the scene and to bring its players to the attention of an even broader audience. Nascent filmmaker Rob Wellborn is a man with a mission, and on Wednesday, Jan. 27th, the community will get its first look at Rob’s vision.
For that’s the night that Granfalloon is premiering the pilot episode of Chattaboogie Sessions, Wellborn’s concept for a television show that features performances by local artists, followed by in-depth interviews with the same that focus on their methods, motivations, and techniques for making music. It is an idea whose time has come. As it happens, the experience that inspired Wellborn parallels my own experience in the scene.
In the late ‘90s I got my first gig writing about music for a local alternative paper that was, sadly, a little too ambitious for this market. While it’s whole run lasted a little over a year, I nonetheless had the opportunity to hear some extraordinary local acts that almost no one was aware of at the time. Flash forward a decade or so and Wellborn attends Roots Fest, a homegrown music festival conceived for the express purpose of showcasing local acts.
“I witnessed an eclectic blend of musical talent that existed in the town that I had grown up in and had, a few years prior, moved away from temporarily. Band after band impressed me with their original tunes that were played so eloquently that an unwitting listener might assume that they were full-time musicians living in hillside mansions”
It was a pivotal moment for Wellborn. “It was then that I realized that this local music scene must be documented. The world must be exposed to this eclectic batch of musicians who never fail [to entertain]. While some bands love to tour, most appear content to rock their fellow Chattanoogans out in one of the plentiful local bars.”
This experience led directly to Wellborn’s first project, Chattaboogie: A Documentary, which was originally conceived as a feature length film highlighting local artists, their music and their views on music in general. The project is still in the works, but currently on hiatus in lieu of the more manageable (and flexible) Chattaboogie Sessions.
The pilot episode will feature performances by and interviews with such notable locals as Jonathan Wimpee (Hot Damn, Milele Roots, The Molly Maguires), Eroc Russell and Jonathan Williams (Moondogg Sikes), the core members of the independent underground hip-hop collective Mdahts, and funk-style jam band Soul Mechanic.
The event itself will also feature live performances by Ryan Oyer and Nick Lutsko. The thrust of the event is two-fold, promoting both the television show itself and Good Family Productions’ Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign whose goal is to provide additional crew and equipment for future episodes.
“The goal of Chattaboogie Sessions is to turn Chattanoogans on to new music, while giving our local artists the recognition they deserve,” says Rob. “Our hope is that the premier party will get the word out and get people excited about the show.”
Doors open at 6:00 pm, admission $10.