Singer/songwriter Corey Smith, who had the plug pulled on his show last year at Chattanooga's Track 29 when he launched into his song "F___ the Po Po," has been booked to play there almost exactly one year later.
Smith performed at the venue on Sept. 7, 2011, the second show at the new facility. Management officials, saying they were concerned about the safety of patrons, turned off the sound to the stage as Smith launched into the song, which is about a specific incident involving Smith and the police in his hometown of Jefferson, Ga.
He is scheduled to perform Sept. 14 at Track 29.
The event last September garnered a lot of attention, both locally and around the country, with some accusing the club and/or local law enforcement of censorship.
Track 29 co-owner Adam Kinsey said Friday that the decision to book Smith again was not about trying to make any kind of statement.
"That was a sold-out show, and the people of Chattanooga obviously like Corey Smith," Kinsey said. "Any artist that gets that kind of response is someone that we want to have back."
Smith said he wants to come to Chattanooga, perform his show and move on.
"I look forward to going in there and performing the show I believe I have the right to perform and hopefully the city will stand by their statement made after the show that they did not try to censor my show," he said Friday.
"It's unfortunate the last incident happened," he said. "I just want to go there and do my show and move on. I just want to treat it like any other show. The intent is not to go in there and be controversial and open old wounds."
Within a few days of the incident last year, Smith had recorded a song called "Chattanooga" that said he was censored and that he believed it stemmed from an earlier incident involving city Beer and Wrecker Board Officer John Collins.
At a show Smith played in Rhythm & Brews, Collins was on duty and had beer poured on him by a female patron. Smith says in the song that Collins blamed him and "the song he was singing on the stage" for a fan pouring a beer onto "Officer John."
Collins, who attended Smith's show at Track 29 last year, denied at the time that he made any requests or demands as to what Smith could play. He did not respond to messages left Friday on his office phone.
After last year's incident, Track 29 management issued a statement the day after that read in part: "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.
"Rest assured that we had no intention of limiting any artist's creative license or right to speak freely. All decisions were made for safety and safety alone. We will always keep the health and well-being of our patrons, talent and staff as our utmost concern."
Tickets went on sale Friday for Smith's Sept. 14 show and were selling well, Kinsey said.
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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