Robert Lee Coleman describes himself simply as a blues man.
It is perhaps an overly simplistic summary for a man who has spent his life playing the guitar with legends like Calvin Arline, Newton Collier, Shing-a-Ling Smith, Percy Sledge and James Brown. Having spent decades of his life traveling the world to play for audiences, Coleman currently is working the festival circuit in Georgia.
I just finished a concert in Dahlonega, Coleman said recently. Ill be back in Dahlonega in August opening for Johnny Winter (Aug. 21) at Georgia Bluesfest 2010. More information about that performance can be found at www.georgiabluesfest.com.
For now, Coleman is looking forward to playing at Locos Grill & Pub on Riverside.
Its a good restaurant and a fun place to play, Coleman said. Well do most of our regular songs, only quieter since people are eating, too. Colemans excitement to play his music is really the sum of his life.
I just really love it, he said. I love playing. I feel it deep in my bones and I think that if you dont feel it, you cant do it. I grew up with blues. My stepfather played the guitar, and I remember that he kept it leaned over in the corner on the far side of his bed. Now, you got to remember I was still a little boy, pedaling round on a little tricycle. Well, Id see that guitar over in the corner there; Id get off my tricycle, crawl under the bed, and go over there and plunk on them strings.
When he learned to play for himself, Coleman would either go to church on Sunday to play or go with his band to rehearse.
It just depended on who got there first, he recalled. I just wanted to play!
I love all music, really, Coleman admitted. I can play other types of music, but the blues are what I love the most. Im really just a blues man.
Currently, Coleman has a new CD, Last Chance, released with the assistance of the Music Maker Relief Foundation. At the moment, Coleman is leading his own group, The Robert Coleman Band, which includes a drummer and bass player. More information about the group, and a few sneak peeks about their upcoming plans and current CD, can be found at www.myspace.com/robertleecoleman.
To his fans, Coleman has an equally simple message.
I love my fans, he said. I have some that Ive met and some that I havent, but I love you all regardless. Without you, there would be no me. Ive got a lot of fans around, and I dont know a lot, but I do know that Im lucky to have them. Ive been blessed. I hope everybody gets the chance to come out and listen to some good music and eat some good food and then say hi.