Robert Lee Coleman was born May 15, 1945 in Macon, G.A., and grew up in and around Macon during a time when the middle GA area was a hotbed of Blues, R&B, and early Rock ‘n Roll. His earliest musical influence was his stepfather, whom he remembers as a talented guitarist. As was often the case during the 1950s, Coleman’s introduction to playing in front of an audience came in the church but the guitar had a strong hold on Coleman by then. He continued to hone his guitar chops, playing with most of Macon’s prominent musicians of the day: Calvin Arline (Bobby Womack, Cher, Doug Kershaw, Jimmy Nalls Band), Newton Collier (Sam & Dave, others), Eddie Kirkland, Percy Welch, & others.
In 1964, Robert was picked by R&B legend Percy Sledge to play guitar in his touring band, a position he held through 1969. During this time Coleman toured extensively throughout North & South America, the Caribbean, & even Africa. In April of 1970, James Brown came to Macon looking for players for his backing band, the newly-founded JBs. From then till the end of ‘72, Coleman toured & recorded with Brown. His playing from this time is documented on three of Brown’s albums: “Hot Pants”, on which Coleman was solely responsible for the guitar groove on the title track; “Revolution of the Mind”, recorded live at the Apollo Theater in NYC; & the song “Make It Funky” from the “Soul Classics” LP.
Recently Coleman has released two albums of his own material.