Chris Gates & Gatesville
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Chris Gates & Gatesville

Buda, Texas, United States | INDIE

Buda, Texas, United States | INDIE
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I just spent the last week listening to the recent CD by Chris Gates and Gatesville entitled, "Welcome to Gatesville." Some of the songs grabbed me right away, others grew on me after listening several times. It is a strong CD by this Texas based band. Southern rock fans will hear Molly Hatchett in the tune "Devil's On My Trail", flashes of Skynyrd in "Lowdown & Dirty" and "Southern Man" which has a "Gimme Back My Bullets" feel to it. For those of you that like the bluesy feel of George Thorogood you'll find it in "Come See About Me."

The band has some very talented players featuring: Chris Gates on guitar and vocals, Tony Redman on guitar, Scott Womack is the bassist and rounding it out is drummer Paul Soliz. For the songs that have keyboards the band brought in Greg Rolie and Kristi Johnston and Erin Jaimes contribute background vocals. Chris wrote or co-wrote all the songs.

One thing that will grab you right away is Chris' vocals. They certainly are unique in a Tom Waits way!! Chris' voice is sort of a mix of gravel and sandpaper, but it works so well with the superb lyrics he has written.


There are three standouts on the CD. "Broken Hearts & Faded Pictures" which also made me think of Russell Smith the vocalist of the Amazing Rhythm Aces. The Aces' classic "The End Is Not In Sight" (The Cowboy Tune) melody came to mind when hearing "Broken Hearts" but it was the lyrics that are crafted so well. We've all been there at one point in a relationship that didn't last where you got the feeling something was amiss, that you couldn't put your finger on it. Chris' words just nail that feeling:



"I look at you and you seem to smile -just a second too slow
Your eyes are a million miles away, and what you’re thinking I don’t know
Things seemed fine just yesterday – don’t know what the trouble might be.
Still there’s this nagging feeling, you’re slipping away from me."



In "Man of My Dreams", it addresses that doubt that passes through a man's mind when things may not be going our way in some aspect of our life, where our confidence may be not where it should be. Chris' vocals sums that feeling up superbly with these words: "Some days I ain't sure I can handle being the man of my dreams."

The final track on the CD, "Simple Man" (no, not the Skynryd song) is a masterpiece, both musically and lyrically. Ever offer advice to a friend, but you yourself don't follow that same advice? Here's what Chris wrote and sings on "Simple Man":



You can lead this old horse to a bar
and you can buy me a drink
You can lead me just about anywhere
sometimes I'm just too tired to think
never took anything from you that I
Couldn't return twice
Never understand why I never
listen to my own advice



The instrumentation will hook you and hold you and will not let you go for the entire song. Any regular readers of SFM know one of my favorite bands is The Outlaws. Well, closing my eyes and just listening intently to this track I swore it was Hughie Thomasson and Billy Jones trading licks on "Stick Around For Some Rock and Roll."

Check Chris and the band out on their website and give them some big Texas support by picking up the CD. I promise you, you will do exactly what I did, play "Simple Man" over again immediately and then go back again to the top and listen through as these wonderful songs find a way into your head and heart. - Southern Fried Magazine


Like some dusty brown jug of granddad's moonshine found hidden away in a country house that, nevertheless, once uncorked, kicks and hollers and sears all the way down your parched gullet, Austin punk foundation Chris Gates is still capable of laying you out flat at lower volume and tempos. It's not just that Gates, aided and abetted by the Southern-fried fretwork of Tony Redman and the one-two-KO sucker punch of bassliner Scott Womack and Paul Soliz's crackle-snap drumming, bear-hugs the boogie-woogie tropes of southbound beer drinkers and honky-tonk hell-raisers ("Devil's on My Trail" should come with a "Danger: Flammable Material" warning attached). It's that the local survivor finally sounds like a man at peace with his past, musical and otherwise. Anthemic opener "Those Were the Days" forsakes easy nostalgia for cutting commentary on the simple pleasures of long-gone summers and hometown maturation, while the roadhouse ache of "Forever Came Today" showcases Gates' bloodied but unbowed sandpaper rasp of a voice. Welcome to Gatesville's standout track is a countrified recording of its namesake's 1990s Geffen Records rauncher Junkyard's bloozey hit "Simple Man," reborn as a poignant paean to Gates today, a little older, presumably wiser, but still an entirely fun, fun, fun slab of clean/sober city limits rock & roll. - Austin Chronicle


Discography

Ain't It Grand? (2007 Anodyne Music)
Solo Live (2008 Anodyne Music)
Welcome to Gatesville (2010 Anodyne Music)

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Bio

I've been playing music for my entire life... the Big Boys from 79-84, Poison 13 from 83-85, Junkyard from '86-present, The Charter Bulldogs from 2002 - 2005, and now this. Pretty cool...

As a songwriter, the last 20+ years have been spent working my way back home - back to the music I grew up on. John Prine, The Allman Bros., Skynyrd, ZZ Top - I'm a child of the 70's... As a band we are trying to make the music we miss - good songwriting, harmony guitar parts, honest lyrics and high energy music.

We have a new record - "Welcome To Gatesville" that will hit the shelves on Sept. 16th 2010. I think it's the best record I've ever made and I hope you all agree.

Playing music I love the way I want to play it with guys I love hanging out with... doesn't get much better than that...