August 2017
Simple Times

Chris Posey

Staying True To His Roots

 

Chris Posey performing.

To many, it would have been a dream come true! A chance to sign with a major recording label that would market his music throughout the United States and beyond!

That’s what Chris Posey had just TURNED DOWN when I first interviewed him about 15 years ago.

"They started talking about putting gel in my hair and me wearing leather britches," the laid-back country singer explained back then. "That’s just not my style."

Fast forward going on two decades and Chris not only records with a Grammy-award-winning producer and performs throughout the Southeast (with his records being played throughout Europe) but also still sticks to his country roots, making his home on his great-granddaddy’s former farm in the small community of Nectar AND teaching welding at the new Oneonta campus of Wallace State Community College.

How in the world does he manage to balance all those things and still live a simple life?

Although it can’t be easy, Chris makes it seem completely uncomplicated as he compares his music to his welding.

Welding student Caleb Smith and instructor Chris Posey in the new Wallace State-Oneonta facility.

 

"Setting your welding machine is a lot like fine-tuning your guitar to play a show and the technique shows your true colors in both," he explained.

Chris began both of his careers while still a child. He began welding at the age of 9 at his dad’s Posey Welding Shop in Nectar, first welding on a tricycle frame and then moving up to a D-9 bulldozer!

He picked up a guitar early on. Although there’s really not a lot of music history in his family, his dad Donald (better known as Sockum) said as a young man that he tried his best to play guitar. Donald and mama Jane live near Chris, his wife Crissy and their son, 9-year-old Owen.

While he grew up in the community of Nectar, Chris attended Oneonta schools for all 12 years, graduating with Crissy in 1996.

While playing his music, he attended Snead State for two years earning a degree in Electronic Engineering and then finished at Auburn with degrees in Animal Science and Ag Business, intending to perhaps concentrate on meat sciences such as U.S. Department of Agriculture grading.

If that wasn’t enough, he also became an American Welding Society Certified Welder, AWS Welding Inspector, AWS Certified Welding Educator and AWS Certified Welding Sales Representative!

So when Wallace State Community College opened the satellite campus in Oneonta this past year, it seemed only logical for Chris to step in as their welding instructor!

"The vocational school is already great in Blount County," he explained. "They have souped-up their welding program and have high school students winning national awards ... actually the entire vocational school as a whole is wonderful. So having the college right here in Blount is fantastic.

"Wallace is a wonderful thing for our community, especially the tech aspect of it. There are lots of kids who are really good working with their hands and this facilitates them moving on to better themselves with a career. This will give them opportunities to help them not feel like they are stuck in one place, like I did for a while.

"I played music and was gone full time, but I got to missing home too much. When I had a chance to buy my great-grandpa’s 48 acres, I jumped at it."

Chris has part of that land now leased out to another farmer who is raising commercial breed cows.

He is planning on reopening his now-retired dad’s welding shop in the afternoons for repairs to small farm equipment, bush hogs, three-point-hitch repairs, etc., and to work on small construction equipment.

And to keep things just a little bit busier, there should be another album, recorded at Grammy Award-winning producer Jimmy Nutt’s studio, Nutt House Recordings in Muscle Shoals. It will be available on iTunes and other venues by the time this article is published.

Chris and Adam Hood do songs they’ve written together, sometimes along with friend Tony Brook. The Chris Posey Band includes Cody Farris, lead guitar; Patrick Lunceford, drums; Wade Allen, bass; and Kenny Brown, pedal steel guitar.

Chris feels the main-stream country music of today "just doesn’t seem to have any heart." He feels listeners deserve more than cookie-cutter music.

About his own latest album, he explained, "It’s kind of an organic record. There are no frills. It’s just us. What you get on a record is the same thing you get when you see us live."

Chris, alone or with all or some of the others, plays regularly around the Southeast, including at the Flora-Bama on the coast at least twice a year and currently playing at the Heritage Country Club in Oneonta about twice a month. He’s also played in St. Louis, Texas, Ohio and Myrtle Beach.

Chris said he keeps all the different aspects of his life "compartmentalized."

"Once I get focused on what I’m doing, that’s where I’m at," he said. "There’re so many things about welding and music that are alike. You have to pay attention to detail."

"There are certain breaks and adding certain tones in a song; it all must come together just right.

"That’s just like working on a certain welding project and getting your machine set up."

As of the spring quarter, there had not yet been any women in the Wallace State-Oneonta welding program but he expects that to change soon.

 

 

 

 

Chris and Crissy Posey on their wedding day last year along with their 9-year-old son Owen.

"Women are usually better welders," he noted. "They can usually control the wire better and their hands are more relaxed. Men are more rigid. I tell my students to make themselves as comfortable as possible when making a weld."

Students in the spring quarter made special lamps for Dr. Kelley Jones’ office. She is the director of the Wallace State-Oneonta campus and said that employers are already contacting the college about hiring certified welders.

Welders can be certified after successfully completing four semesters at Oneonta and can earn an associates’ degree in six. Jobs can pay anywhere from $46,000 a year to well over $200,000 a year, if someone wants to travel and work; for instance, on a pipeline or off shore.

Chris hopes the Oneonta campus will soon add other vocational courses to the full slate of academics; courses such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning; computer numerical control, or CNC, machining; and others.

Chris said his grandfather, Sam Posey, taught him that, if he had the drive to do something, to not let anything stand in his way. Sam also told him that if something does get in his way to find a way to move it.

"Being raised here taught me a good work ethic," Chris said. "It taught me respect for other people and other people’s things. Could I have grown up in any better way?"

As he balances his love for music, his determination to help local students excel in the welding field and his family life, Chris leans back casually in his chair.

"I just never have a chance to be bored!" he said.

 

 
Suzy Lowry Geno is a Blount County freelance writer who can be reached through Facebook, Old Field Farm General Store, or her website, www.taitsgapstore.com.