At 6’5”, the bearded and tattooed singer/songwriter and creator of Revival 615 towers above a room in his Philadelphia Eagles hat. Though he’s lost over 80 pounds in recent years, Rob Snyder is still physical imposing, and his baritone voice and piercing stare can lead to a nerve-wracking first impression. But sitting on stage with a guitar in his hands, Snyder reveals himself as a vulnerable & scarred survivor, having endured more tragedy in his first 30 years than most experience in a lifetime.
Rob moved with his family from Roswell, Georgia to the Delco suburbs of Philadelphia when he was six years old, where he says his father and grandfather instilled his now well-known Eagles & Phillies fandom. He was interested in music at an early age. “The first thing that made me fall in love with music was when I was eight years old, I watched La Bamba with my babysitter,” recalled Snyder. “I went back to my Encyclopedia Britannica and I looked up Buddy Holly & Waylon Jennings. I was in first grade sitting in the back of the bus with the eighth graders talking about Guns n’ Roses lyrics.”
While attending Villanova University, Rob started a band called PaintOnFace, which he described as “Red Hot Chili Peppers meets Suicidal Tendencies.” The 4-piece band achieved mild success before breaking up because, as Snyder puts it, “we all ended up hating each other.” Over the next few years, Snyder put down his guitar and worked manual labor jobs while finishing his degree at Villanova. During this time, he’d lost several close friends to drugs and a drunk driving accident. One day while listening to the radio, he heard Randy Travis’ ‘Three Wooden Crosses” and, though he admits he wasn’t the biggest fan of modern country music, the hair on his arm immediately stood up. “I picked my guitar back up and told myself I could write those three-chord country music songs,” said Snyder.
On June 20th, 2011, Snyder was at a bar with some of his closest friends. He recalled that he’d promised his friend, Ryan, that night he would move to Nashville, and that they agreed to both get matching tattoos that read ‘Suck it’ the next day. The next morning, Rob got the call that Ryan and another friend passed away the prior evening in a car accident. “That’s been my driving force,” said Snyder, as he pulled down his shirt to reveal a tattoo which reads ‘Suck It’, along with the date, June 20th, and the names of both of his friends that died that night. “That’s what drove me here.”
Rob moved to Nashville in April of 2012, and quickly got a job after demonstrating he could do things other than just sing & write songs. “I broke up a fight at Losers in front of Erv Woolsey and he hired me to be a bouncer,” said Snyder. “I moved over to Winners where I was doing the door for Whiskey Jam for two to three years.” During this time, he came up with the idea for a different kind of live music showcase. He worked with fellow songwriter, Cody Walden, to create a live songwriter event that they named ‘Revival’, after a song Walden had written. They convinced Morgan Kyle, the general manager at the Tin Roof on Demonbreun Street in Nashville, to allow them to hold their new event at his bar on Tuesday nights, and Revival debuted in May of 2013.
Rob would take the reins over the next few years, and also began to make major changes in his own life. He quit cigarettes, lost 80 pounds, and met the love of his life, Nikki. “I was playing at a show and had a spiritual moment and decided to let it all go.” Snyder said. “I was talking about coming here for five years while my elbows were on a bar in a shitty VFW in Westchester. It took a lot of wrong turns to get where I was, but now I’m just hungry.”
Revival has proven over its five years to be one of the best places in Nashville for singers and songwriters to meet, which was Rob’s goal all along. He said that Nikki overheard a couple guys talking on a recent Tuesday night. One of them said, “Bro, THIS is where you go if you’re gonna be a songwriter in this town.” Rob says that Brent Cobb, who recently was nominated for a Grammy, is the heart of what Revival represents. “If you could name one person that IS Revival, it’s Brent Cobb,” says Snyder. “He has never written a song that dumbed down his craft for the greater good. He has been Brent Cobb unapologetically, and is the living example of Revival.” Today, you’ll see rising artists on stage such as Channing Wilson and Chris Canterbury, who also is the creator of the Revival logo.
Rob signed a publishing agreement with Little Extra Music in March of 2016 and is looking forward to celebrating the five-year anniversary of Revival this May. He’s also paired up with Country Rebel and will be hosting Revival live to over 7 million people online. Despite the success, Rob has maintained a humble attitude and wants to continue to focus on the reasons he left West Chester, PA for the Music City. “I’m not trying to make it an empire or anything like that,” said Snyder. “I just want it to keep going. I moved here to write songs with the faith that we’re gonna get it back. My end goal is that I want a ring for my girl, and a backyard for my dog.”