published Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Chattacountry family

Local artists join forces at Rhythm & Brews to support website

Jim Boles, right, sits in with singers/songwriters Robby Hopkins, Dave Kennedy and Channing Wilson, from left. Hopkins and Wilson are expected to be among those performing Wednesday at a benefit at Rhythms & Brews.
Jim Boles, right, sits in with singers/songwriters Robby Hopkins, Dave Kennedy and Channing Wilson, from left. Hopkins and Wilson are expected to be among those performing Wednesday at a benefit at Rhythms & Brews.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
IF YOU GO

* What: Chattacountry.com concert featuring Brian Blaylock, Husky Burnette, Nathan Farrow, Mike French, Arlo Gilliam, Robby Hopkins, Michael Martin, Anthony Simms, Davey Smith, Roger Alan Wade and Channing Wilson.

* When: 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19.

* Where: Rhythm & Brews, 221 Market St.

* Admission: $5.

* Phone: 267-4644.

* Venue Website: rhythm-brews.com.

Jim Boles has spent the last four years doing what he can to promote area musicians who play his favorite type of music. On Wednesday, some of those musicians hope to return the favor.

Many of the artists whose news of show dates, CD releases and reviews of performances can be found at Chattacountry.com will gather at Rhythms & Brews to play a benefit concert to help maintain the website founded by Boles. Singer/songwriter Channing Wilson, who still plays in the Chattanooga area on occasion although he now lives in Nashville, is the driving force behind the effort.

"Chattacountry is Jim Boles," Wilson said. "I can't imagine him not being part of that anymore."

Wilson contacted Mike Dougher, who books shows at Rhythm & Brews. Wilson and several others have pledged to play at the show.

"There could also be some surprises," Wilson said.

Boles works as an assistant principal at Chattanooga School for the Arts & Sciences. He's also a fan of classic country, bluegrass and roots music and after realizing that the area is home to an abundance of talent playing on the local scene, he launched Chattacountry.com in October 2008.

He's gotten help over the years from Mike Tatum, Christy Johnson and Kelly Cheek, but mostly it's been Boles' project.

"It's a place where artists can connect and collaborate with one another," Boles said. "They can post their music for others to hear. They can post their shows so other people can get out and hear them. This isn't for Jim Boles. This is for everybody that's a fan."

Although it's called Chattacountry.com, Boles doesn't restrict his site to the "Chatta" or the "country" part. He uses about a 100-mile radius, which allows for artists like Drake White, from Hokesbluff, Ala., to be included. And although Husky Burnette's music is rooted in the blues, the former guitarist for local singer/songwriter Roger Alan Wade is part of the Chattacountry family along with Wade.

Boles said there are currently about 50 he considers Chattacountry artists. The fan-base membership is more than 500 strong. The website has managed to go global, occasionally getting hits from other countries.

But despite any gains in those areas, there remain monthly fees, travel expenses and other costs to provide the service. The local artists who benefit from that service don't want to see it go away, so they're doing something about it. And they're banking on Chattacountry's fans to show their support.

Wilson emphasizes there will be no guest list Wednesday. It's $5 per person. Even the performers are required to pay.

"It's just going to be one right after another, everybody doing about four or five songs and telling their Chattacountry story," Wilson said. "I imagine we'll do something special at the end. We'll just kind of see what happens.

"I hope it will be a really, really cool night. I don't really want to call it a benefit. It's more like a show of appreciation. It's just our way of saying, 'Thanks for all you do.' "

Contact staff writer Kelley Smiddie at ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6653.

about Kelley Smiddie...

Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com.

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