Chattanooga Now In Tune: Secret shame of musical missed connections

Chattanooga Now In Tune: Secret shame of musical missed connections

July 17th, 2014 by Casey Phillips in Chattnow Music

Chattanooga, I'm ashamed of myself.

After last week's tangent about my love of Mark Twain, it's time to air a bit of dirty laundry about some Scenic City musical experiences that I still can't claim to have had, even after living here the better part of a decade.

This isn't an easy list to reveal to the public. Actually, it's pretty embarrassing. But maybe by locking myself into the stockade and inviting a bit of public humiliation, I'll find the incentive to change my ways.

Here are four things I still haven't found the time to do in the seven years I've lived here:

¦ Go to an open mike. I'm a huge proponent of local music, and these showcases are a breeding ground for new partnerships and artistic experimentation. At an open-mike, you can see greenhorn musicians making their first forays into public performance and enjoy acoustic sets by vets who want to blow off some steam or test out new material. At least, that's what I'm told. I can't even claim money is an obstacle, since with few exceptions -- I'm looking at you, Camp House -- most open mikes are free.

¦ Sing karaoke in public. I love karaoke, and for years, it was a staple activity at parties in my circle of friends. It's also hugely popular around town -- as evidence, I present our weekly Club Scene event calendar -- but despite many trips to Rob's Restaurant, Sing It or Wing It and any number of Chattanooga's other karaoke havens, I've always chickened out from publicly karaoke-ing.

¦ Attend the Mountain Opry. Growing up, I was a huge bluegrass fan and spent years playing old-time music all over Knoxville. Yet somehow, I've managed never to make the drive up Signal Mountain on a Friday night to check out this long-standing, string-band free-for-all. After they found out, my banjos can hardly stand to look at me anymore.

¦ See a show at Memorial Auditorium. Chattanooga's music scene has been on a steady upswing for the last few years, but we're hardly Atlanta or Nashville. There aren't so many venues around town that it's excusable not to have attended a show in most of them, especially when you're talking about the city's largest hall. So, yeah, I certainly deserve to be given the raspberry for this one.

In the coming months, I will attempt to put checks beside these items on my bucket list. What about you? In what ways are you inexperienced, musically? Have you never been to JJ's or seen the symphony perform? Email me the details of your secret shame, so I don't feel so alone and exposed.

Contact Casey Phillips at or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.