Jeff Bates is as American as any artist out there and with this being American Artist Appreciation month it’s a good time to introduce others to his music and his songs.
Jeff was born in Alabama and not long afterwards abandoned. Raised by a couple from Mississippi who took him in as a baby he never knew he was adopted. They couldn’t have children so welcomed the baby into their home – and over time he was joined by eight brothers and sisters, all natural born. He was never treated differently and didn’t know he was adopted until a school bully told him he wasn’t really a Bates. Distraught he told his mother who told him he may not have been born a Bates but he definitely was a Bates.
Prospects in the poor rural south were – and are – confining. Economic hardship isn’t just the stuff from songs it’s real life for many and the Bates family had struggles to keep everyone fed, clothed and tended but love was never an issue. Music was a strong influence for Jeff, and it proved a way out of that small town in southern Mississippi.
He formed a band, Southern Storm, and had one cd before heading to Tennessee. Working on songwriting and for a time commuting from Nashville to Arkansas where he’d play. During this time it headed to the darkest time. He got addicted to meth and stole, cheated and lied to support the habit until time ran out and he was arrested on March 14, 2001 in Nashville. He lost his writing deal, a record deal that was in the works and a week later had the first coherent thought in years. He called people he lied to and stole from and when he got out made good on the promise to pay back every penny. His song “One Second Chance” illustrated it in story and although it wasn’t a #1 song it has changed lives of many people who heard it. He speaks to make people uncomfortable with drugs. He brings a word of hope to many who needed it.
A song off of his first RCA cd told his story. “My Mississippi” is an ode to home as only Jeff can tell it. “I packed my delta dreams, came to Music City, brought a whole lot of me, a little Presley and some Twitty…” with a determination that comes from getting up one more time when life knocks you down.
With high points that include a top 10 single with “The Love Song”, a #1 GAC video with “Good People” and additional hits with “Long Slow Kisses” and “I Wanna Make You Cry” it is clear hit singles are a familiar concept. Songs like “One Second Chance” and “Riverbank” bring the life changing parts to the top also.
Now with the Black River Music Group Jeff has added more dimension as an artist with a top five Christian Country hit in “He Wasn’t Like Us” and “Don’t Hate Me For Lovin You” which spent eight weeks at #1 on CMT Pure. As an artist he’s written songs that have been recorded by Montgomery Gentry, Andy Griggs and others. He continues to play his talent to songwriting and performing. In 2009 he’s been part of the Honky Tonk Tailgate Party Tour with Mark Wills and Trent Willmon. He’s also done some public speaking engagements as well as a great deal of public service particularly in the area of addiction, including at a gathering of DARE officers.
An incredible talent as an artist take some time to give him a listen. It’s real music, real stories, real writing. It’s things to laugh with, cry with, live with. An artist that touches people’s lives makes a difference no matter what form it’s in. That’s real country.