Chris Cates
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Chris Cates


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"Morganton native releases CD"

News Herald Correspondent
Monday, July 5, 2004


MORGANTON - Morganton native, Chris Cates, is having a very good year.

In the last month he not only released his new solo CD "Getaway Plans," but he also took home two awards at the Flagpole Music Awards in Athens, GA.

The Awards, held every year at the beginning of "Athfest," are awarded by Flagpole readers' choice.

"Flagpole has a circulation of 15,000 a week. We put a ballot in the paper for several weeks for readers to fill out and mail in. They can also vote online," said a Flagpole representative.

According to a press release from Cates's production company, Mealtime Brown, Cates took home the highly coveted 2004 Album of the Year Award and Funk Band of the Year Award... (for the) 2003 album Parakeet Nelson "Risky Biscuits."

"I was definitely surprised," said Cates. "'Risky Biscuits' sold a few thousand copies."

Cates is currently beginning a worldwide tour in support of "Getaway Plans."

"The new... LP features more of an Americana/bluegrass and folk style contrary to the extremely eclectic records released with Parakeet Nelson," according to Cates' website.

"This album is more alternative country. The last couple of albums (with Parakeet Nelson) have been funk oriented," Cates said. "On this album I was able to feature my violin player. I was going for a more acoustic sound."

Indeed, listeners will be amazed by the rising violin phenomenon, Dr. Andrej Kurti, on tracks such as the instrumental "Vlade for Three!!!."

"I wrote the song with a Eastern European flavor," Cates said.

If Cates sounds like a well seasoned musical artist, it's because he is. His pursuit of his music began years ago.

"I started playing with my friend Jeramy Lamanno in fifth grade, but when we were in eighth grade we started playing seriously, professionally," Cates said.

Upon graduating Freedom High School, Cates did not decide whether to pursue music or to go to college, he decided to do both.

"I knew I was going to go to school no matter what," he said. "I could've gone to UNC but chose Appalachian State because I was in love with the mountains. I started with a music major but switched to English. I was touring while I was attending college and that distracted from my music classes. Besides, I didn't want conventional music training I was more into folk and rock music."

After graduating college with an English degree and a minor concentrating on Music Theory, Cates formed Parakeet Nelson and started seriously touring as a band while releasing several albums.

"I moved back to Morganton for year and then toured the circuit pretty heavily for a year," said Cates. "In 1998 I moved to Athens, GA. There's a very rich music scene in Athens. Jeramy was down there and he was telling me how awesome it was. I had started grad school in Chapel Hill but I went to Athens to pursue music."

It was in Athens that Cates was able to begin his production company Mealtime Brown.

"I had been taking jobs in Athens like working on swimming pools, you know just getting a job to get me by. Then it dawned on me that it was stupid to do things I didn't want to do. It was best to pursue what I was interested in. There's 400 - 500 bands in Athens so I began a production business that really boomed for a couple years. I was able to move from CD duplication to studio and production work. I provided cheap studio work for artists," he said.

The difference in Morganton and Athens' has afforded Cates the opportunity to participate in creating many different genres of music.

Cates has performed across the world and during his career has played on the streets of France and has headlined clubs throughout the U.S., Germany, and the Netherlands according to Cates' Web site.

"I've met people and had... opportunities to play gigs by word of mouth from people that know me in different cities. The response from people is better overseas just because I'm a country boy with a crazy accent. Europe's been awesome for us," said Cates. "I've been able to play with people like the Netherlands' jazz trumpet player and singer Saskia Laroo."

As a solo artist Cates has released three solo albums prior to "Getaway Plans."

For information about Cates, Mealtime Brown, or bookings visit

- The News Herald


Chris Cates & the MasterPlan "Dead Man's Suit"
Chris Cates "Passion & Purpose"
Chris Cates "..sneak preview"
Chris Cates "Triple Bogey With 17 Holes to Play - The Golf Cd"
Chris Cates "Getaway Plans"
Parakeet Nelson "Risky Biscuits"
Parakeet Nelson "Mealtime Brown presents..."



Recording artist and producer Chris Cates has worn many hats in the music industry and the eclectic mix of albums he has released is a true testament to his creative touch.

However, when it comes to playing live, Chris Cates and the MasterPlan really know how to shine.

Delivering a unique blend of high-energy, rock, americana, funk and soul Cates’s signature vocals, harmonica and soaring Gibson guitar lift life to another level with the incredible sax work of John Kell and the strong rythm section of Peeler drums and bass virtuoso Chris Singleton taking each show into funky new territory.

Cates and his band have won several awards for performance, as well as album of the year at the 2004 Flagpole Music Awards in Athens.
Recently Cates has had music on Showtime and has contributed several songs to national charity campaigns (SIDS, Bat for a Cure).

After basically taking a year off from touring in 2007 (only playing 50 gigs) to produce 5 albums for other artists, Chris Cates & the MasterPlan are now booking and ready to rock in your city!!!