Jeff Bates doesn’t cherry pick his life for the high spots. Whether he’s writing or singing a song, he’s always emotionally honest. You heard that quality in such of his RCA Records hits as “The Love Song,” “Rainbow Man,” “One Second Chance,” “I Wanna Make You Cry” and “Long Slow Kisses.”
Now comes the compelling CD, Jeff Bates, the singer’s debut collection for the Black River Music Group. Jeff’s was the guiding hand in 10 of the album’s 13 songs. Bates teamed on the album with such stellar co-writers as Lonnie Wilson, Kim Williams, Ben Hayslip, Brandon Kinney, Jimmy Yeary, Robert Arthur, Kirk Roth, Jim McCormick, Jason Matthews and Kenny Beard. Paul Overstreet, Deborah Allen, Frank Rogers and Casey Beathard also contributed songs.
“It’s the most honest and accurate representation of me and my music yet,” Bates proclaims. “Nobody told me what to sing or write, what direction to go with it, or how it should be done. We all just went into the studio and did our best to bring life to words I’d written on paper. And the words written on paper? Well, those came from little pieces of the life I’ve lived.”
The stories of his adoption, meth addiction and jail time have been bared honestly for the media and country music fans, but there’s so much more to the man that Jeff Bates has become. The album captures snapshots of what’s most important to him: strong family ties, the love of a good woman, appreciation for the workin’ man, and his unfailing religious beliefs – all buffered with a quick smile and sense of humor. Overall, it’s a body of work filled with surprising insights and intimate confessions told in Bate’s own rich voice.
Jimmy Nichols, who co-produced the album with Kenny Beard and Mickey Jack Cones, agrees with that assessment. “Working with Jeff on this new album,” he says, “reminded me of why I came to Nashville—great songs, great singing and passion for the music. Jeff is the future of country music, but he never lets us forget its past.”
A native of Mississippi, Bates signed with RCA Records in 2002. That association yielded two albums—Rainbow Man in 2003 and Leave The Light On in 2006—plus seven charted singles: “The Love Song,” “Rainbow Man,” “I Wanna Make You Cry,” “Long, Slow Kisses,” “Good People,” “No Shame” and “One Second Chance.”
When he was released from his label deal in 2006, Bates balanced his time between a busy tour schedule and songwriting – exploring a slightly different direction that was “a little rougher around the edges, a little more progressive, a little more of ME and the music I really feel inside.” The music that came from that time of reflection and freedom captured the ear of Black River Music Group who immediately signed Bates as their flagship artist.
The first single from the new album is the driving up-tempo “Don’t Hate Me For Loving You.” Jeff Bates will be released April 8.
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