published Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Curtain Call: Late start hasn't slowed Marty Bohannon

The Bohannons: Marty Bohannon stands second from left with his mates.
The Bohannons: Marty Bohannon stands second from left with his mates.

Marty Bohannon

Hometown: Chattanooga.

Age: 37.

Education: Hixson High School, Chattanooga State, UTC.

Family: Rachel Bohannon, son, Miller.

Vocation: Touring musician/recording artist/bartender.

There are many paths one can take on the way to being in a rock 'n' roll band. Marty Bohannon has taken one of the more unusual routes.

He didn't join his first rock band until 7 years ago at age 30, despite the fact that he began playing the guitar at age 15 and he's been writing songs almost as long.

For years prior to 2005, he helped manage and book acts, including a band featuring his brother, Matt, though he never seized the opportunity to join him onstage. In fact, Marty says he never went onstage in all that time.

"I was more the singer/songwriter, stay-at-home type, I guess," Bohannon said.

Seven years ago, however, Bohannon took the leap and joined his brother onstage. Nick Sterchi and Josh Beaver were recruited to play drums and bass, respectively, and The Bohannons was formed.

In the time since, the group has done a lot of touring and recorded two demos, an EP and most recently a full-length CD, "Unaka Rising," that was released nationally in July.

The CD was recorded in Athens, Ga., at Chase Park Transduction studio. Because of work schedules, band members drove down each Sunday, taking their time in the studio to experiment and rework the songs.

"It is more costly and maybe not the way some people would prefer to do it, but it was a way to discover things about yourself and your music that you may not have known," Bohannon said.

"It was like having a blank canvas or tape.... It allows you to go in any direction you want. It's like being on the hot seat, and you have to improvise and then sit back and take hold of the situation.

"It's a fun process," he said.

Since last spring, the band has embarked on four national tours lasting between a week and 10 days each and done a number of weekend gigs and a few festivals.

It's paying off as "Unaka Rising" has gotten positive reviews from almost two dozen magazines and online music services, including The Oxford American, Atlanta Examiner, Nashville Scene, The Agit Reader, Sirius XMU, When You Motor Away, Hype Machine, Seattle Post Intelligencer, BlogCritics and My Old Kentucky Blog.

American Oxford's reviewer wrote: "A little Two Gallants, a little Black Sabbath, they're as heavy as they are twangy. They manage their heaviness without venturing into melodrama, which is difficult for many artists that venture into darker territory."

The band will play at JJ's Bohemia on Wednesday and at Rhythm & Brews on Dec. 13.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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