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Corey Smith's Chattanooga

2011-09-12 21:33:17.888998+00 by Dan Lyke 11 comments

Musician Corey Smith writes about Chattanooga police pulling the plug in his recent performance there. Or, you can download Corey Smith's song "Chattanooga" in which he sings about his experiences there (email required for download).

Chattanoogan article about Corey Smith's shortened concert, Nooga.com's article on it.

Bill Dawers writes a great blog entry on the situation, including the lyrics from the song that was shut off (it's about one of those "your papers, pliss" checkpoint stops the South loves so much), and the venue, Track 29, makes a statement that claims:

Unfortunately, the show ended while Corey was playing his last song. Our team made that decision with the intent of protecting our audience, our talent, and the long-term viability of Track 29 to bring great live entertainment to Chattanooga. ...

Unfortunately, this sounds like the Chattanooga I remember from those times long ago. And not even gigabit fiber to the home can override conservative provincial attitudes reinforced by a police force intent on terrorizing the citizens it's supposed to be protecting.

[ related topics: Music Weblogs Free Speech Theater & Plays Law Enforcement Art & Culture Chattanooga ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-12 22:32:15.930565+00 by: Dwayne

I feel incredibly fortunate to have grown up in Tennessee, especially my little hometown up on the outskirts of Knoxville. That said, Chattanooga should be ashamed of itself. Sadly, I don't think it ever will be. Despite having many great friends there, and having had lots of good times, I am beyond thankful I was offered an opportunity to get the heck out.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-12 22:53:39.65079+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

I've got some great friends in Chattanooga, I am completely head-over-heels for the geography which has amazing rock climbing and whitewater and hang gliding and hiking all spitting distance from downtown. The Riverbend festival is awesome, and downtown is hopping now. However, I did not realize until I left just how much psychic toll surviving in that culture took out of me.

The first comment to that Bill Dawers entry, by Oliver Wolfe, is worth excerpting:

I would just like to point out that this song is about a very corrupt Jefferson Police Department. ...

Yep. Chattanooga's police are bad enough, but if you get out to a neighboring holler...

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-13 00:41:54.524631+00 by: meuon [edit history]

So let me get this right, the VENUE OPERATORS shut him down?!? Not the police? For singing his signature well known song?

I smell a staged media event and free P.R.

I knew Track 29 was in progress, now I know it's open (this way), and I won't be attending future events there.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-13 01:09:39.061557+00 by: Dwayne [edit history]

Do you mean PR for the artist? Very interesting.... Though I can't imagine why they would take the risk of negative PR directed at them.

If you mean PR for the venue, then I don't think I agree... but I certainly don't buy the "safety of our patrons" statement by the operators of the venue.

That said, I wasn't there and I can't base this on anything besides the following speculation:

Track 29 wants to stay on the good side of law enforcement. It's good for their business to limit scrutiny of their practices and those of their patrons. They certainly don't want to upset the police by letting a known anti-police artist state an anti-police opinion in their venue. Ergo, censorship.

The obvious hole in this theory is that I'm sure they knew his stance and the content of his material when they booked the gig. However, it seems like the show was well-attended, and they must of made a killing off the admission and alcohol sales. So, in their mind, as it were, what reason would they have to not go ahead and shut him up? As if to say "We'll get these folks out of here faster, and we'll get brownie points with the police. Pull the plug!"

I could be wrong. I often am.

Nevertheless, I was a bit excited when I heard Chattanooga was getting a new venue – I hoped to visit when I was back visiting friends. I don't think I'll be doing so now.

In the meantime, I'll be watching this story unfold with great interest.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-13 01:51:22.258648+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

The vibe I get is that the venue operators have shaky relationships with the police, and someone from the cops strong-armed them over this song. But I'm sure there's a lot more to the story and it goes a lot deeper.

The video of the final minutes of the act raises more questions than it answers.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-13 09:33:32.219661+00 by: meuon

Shaky with the Po Po and the "Beer and Towing Board" which is notorious in Chattanooga for having issues.

Dang, Did -DAN- link to a facebook video? Ok, I watched it.

What would have been awesome if he had kept on singing and the crowd got quiet enough to hear him.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-16 00:21:58.305035+00 by: Dwayne

Ok... I watched that video and now think the PR-for-the-artist angle is quite plausible... but mostly it caused me to lose interest in the matter.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-16 02:07:57.359155+00 by: Larry Burton

An old acquaintance from Net362 has something to say about Corey Smith.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-16 02:07:57.39776+00 by: Larry Burton

An old acquaintance from Net362 has something to say about Corey Smith.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-16 02:11:15.490887+00 by: topspin

PR stunt for both the venue and the artist. Here's why.

Track 29 is the new kid on the block, the best connected venue with the shakers in this town, and likely the best funded venue in the musical wasteland called Chattanooga. They are selling a different kind of edginess, apparently, to a town whose idea of edgy is "Here Come the Mummies" or "GWAR." This isn't just good publicity, it's great publicity for Track 29 because EVERYONE will wonder what "controversial" and "envelope pushing" artist they will bring next. I wouldn't be surprised to hear M. Ward, the upcoming act, cover "Chattanooga" or F*ck the Po Po."

What Corey Smith got was another anthem and LOTS of free PR, mostly favorable, for "being censored." The clue to the ruse is obvious. It's a given that the guy ain't Cohen or Dylan but we're to believe he wrote, recorded, and mixed this song, which isn't AT ALL like his acoustic, stripped down, "road songs" (recorded in rooms or on a bus) from his website AND accompanied by video. His new song "Chattanooga" has overdubs, it's got a full band, it's a very polished effort from the guy, yet it came out about 48hrs after the incident AND no video??? Give it and other material from his website a listen and decide for yourself, but I'm calling BS....or rather PR.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-16 16:19:56.631676+00 by: Dan Lyke

Hmmm... I took the different style to mean that he grabbed an off-the-shelf Garage Band like track to drop lyrics over.