Tribute and Variety
Shows are super successful. The buyer gets more bang for the buck, spending the same amount on
4 to 6 names.
The audience gets to hear a variety of artists. Win Win!
17 when he entered a honky tonk in his hometown of Bunker
Hill, Mississippi, Jeff wasn't there for the smoking,
drinking, or rabble-rousing; he was there to audition, hoping
to land a show or two. The audience went wild for his voice --
a mix of Barry White, Elvis Presley, and Otis Redding -- and
before he knew it, Bates was offered a six-nights-a-week gig.
Everything pointed to Nashville, but before he would get
there, Bates had to battle a crippling methamphetamine
addiction that eventually landed him in jail.
"I knew I'd lost it all. I'd wasted my life," Jeff
says, "That's when I met God and started talking to him.
I prayed, 'I know I've messed up. And I'm not asking for
anything except tell me what I'm supposed to do. Tell me to go
back to Mississippi and I'll go.' The next day, I found out
that Gene Watson had recorded two of my songs. And that Tracy
Lawrence had recorded a song of mine and Kenny Beard's called
"What a Memory." I cried like a baby.
"Here's how I got my life back. I called Kenny Beard
while I was in jail. He had let me use Old Magic, his prize
guitar that he'd written so many of his hits on. I phoned to
tell him that I'd pawned it, to apologize and to tell him
where it was. He said, 'When you get out, I want you to
promise to come and see me.
"When I was released, I walked out and Connie was there.
She'd stuck with me. The next morning, I went to Kenny
Beard's. He met me at the door with Old Magic in his hand. He
said, 'Here, take this and write songs with it. There's the
case with the pawn ticket still in it. If you get the
hankering to do drugs, there's the pawn ticket to remind you.
I love you. Come on in and let's write."
Bates worked pouring concrete building foundations for houses
by day and created new music by night. He got his songwriting
contract back. In time, some of his tapes made their way to
RCA. On January 29, 2002, he sang in person for the label's
executives. The label signed him, and released his debut
single "The Love Song"
Jeff Bates’ latest, Leave the Light On, is really about: not hiding. Bates’ sensuously seductive, passionately romantic (and, lest we forget, charmingly witty) second album is a suite of songs about the good things that happen when human beings open up to each other, and see one another for who they truly are. It’s about keeping no secrets and telling no lies, especially when it comes to love. It’s about keeping the emotional lights on, so we can see one another’s hearts.
“The sexiest thing a man or a woman can do is be vulnerable,” Bates advises. “Just let go. Stop all the pretending. You can’t maintain a façade. If you love somebody, love them. Tell them you love them, show them you love them.”
Bates can speak with some authority on the subject of what drives the opposite sex wild. Although he chuckles at the thought of himself as a sex symbol, that’s exactly what he’s become to a legion of entranced female fans who practically faint at the sound of his deep, rich, bedroom voice. But don’t go thinking that it’s only women who latched on to Bates through his 2003 debut album,
Rainbow Man, or his spellbinding live performances. More than one man has approached the star to thank him for helping fellas learn to say the things women want to hear.
“I’ve had guys come up to me and say, ‘You know, your song helped save my marriage, because I was listening to it and I realized I hadn’t been showing my partner all the attention that she deserved,’” confides Bates. “Women sometimes say the same thing. I get that kind of feedback from my audience.”
For his new album, Bates wrote and discovered songs that bypass all artifice and head straight for the emotional core. “I think a great song should hit you emotionally first, and then make you think,” he says. “Every singer that I’ve respected and admired hit me from the emotional side, and made me feel something.”
Those singers include legends like Conway Twitty, Elvis Presley, Barry White and Johnny Cash—all deep-voiced icons who Bates first heard while growing up in tiny rural Bunker Hill, Mississippi, where he was raised by loving adoptive parents.
“... we didn’t have much and didn’t know there was much to have,” he recalls with a smile. “We were poor. But I had a great mama and daddy, and lots of love—
and I think that right there can set you up for just about anything.”