MP3 Alan Yates Band - Red
Alan Yates captures audiences with tales of intense melody and contemplation. Stylistically, his eclectic stigmatise of music is a consecutive in the lead plugged in wakeless that is bluff charming and unpredictable.
10 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Modern Rock, ROCK: Progressive Rock
"The first valuable lesson I learned about recording -- and which is just as valuable today -- is that no good recording can be done unless you first write good songs and then try to leave them alone," says Atlanta-based songwriter/producer Alan Yates of the Alan Yates Band.
This lesson has served Yates well as he exhibits on the immediate, melodic pop of Red (Tripolar Records), the follow-up to 2003's Mint Condition. But while he may encapsulate as much emotional resonance as he does production detail in three-minute nuggets, much more went in to Red than recording time.
Named after Yates' father -- a musician himself who passed away in 2004 -- Red is first and foremost a tribute to the music present in the younger Yates' life from a very early age. Born and bred in the Jonesboro/Stockbridge area of Georgia, just south of Atlanta, Yates gravitated early towards the songs that were always around him. His father played country music from the era of George Jones and Merle Haggard, and he would often go to see him play at honkytonks and fish fries. Yates' first experience performing was singing with his father at neighborhood gatherings at the early age of 10.
These early experiences -- coupled with a love of the three-minute pop of Elvis and the Beatles sparked by watching their films with older siblings -- encouraged Yates to continue in music, playing in cover bands with neighborhood kids. He also began hanging out at Stockbridge's Real to Reel Studios, where he met Ed Roland and Will Turpin of friends-to-this-day Collective Soul (for whom Yates assisted in engineering on the band's fifth release, Blender, and ecstatically opened up for when Collective Soul played with the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra at the Woodruff Arts Center in late April 2005). After a point, however, Yates wanted to record his own material, which led him to explore learning production.
"Producing came out of a necessity, as I didn't want to have to rely on others and to staying on someone else's clock when doing my music," says Yates. "I felt the quickest way to developing was to be able to spend whatever time I needed; to cut out time and money limitations so I could learn how not to sell my own work short."
Fast forward several years and Yates lives in Atlanta and has established a solid name both as a ProTools engineer, live wakeless mixer at the now defunct Echo Lounge and performer at favored venues such as Decatur's Eddie's Attic and Atlanta's Smith's Olde Bar. In addition he has been featured on the Rock Boat with fellow Southeastern rockers Sister Hazel (for whom he has engineered and mixed), Edwin McCain, Angie Aparo, Cowboy Mouth and Tonic. And he has acted as an instructor and inspiration during the Songwriter's Forum at musical youth camp Camp Jam (https://www.tradebit.com), organized by .38 Special's founding guitarist/songwriter Jeff Carlisi (with whom he recorded a cover of the Cars' "Just What I Needed," also featuring Marvelous 3 bassist Jayce Fincher).
Being an engineer in sessions over the years -- for diverse artists including Collective Soul with Sir Elton John, Sevendust bassist Vince Hornsby, Speech from Arrested Development, Sheila E, Shawn Mullins and Lil Bow Wow -- was almost like "having multiple teachers," says Yates, as he watched many artists and their struggles and success with different arrangements and production styles. Inspired by producers including Tom Dowd (John Coltrane, Ray Charles, Cream, Lynyrd Skynyrd), Peter Gabriel and George Martin (the Beatles), as well as the intimacy of artists such as Chris Isaac, he works hard at retaining the human element of music. This aesthetic was admired to the point that Red -- a collection of harmony-rich guitar pop ranging from jangly to tempestuous, soaring to melancholic -- was written and produced in a compact six-month period in Yates' home studio in order to maintain spontaneity with polish but not unnatural perfection.
Also rewakelessing throughout Red is the presence and influence of Yates' father down to the very instruments Yates uses, which were his father's.
"The electric guitar I play is my father's '60 model Fender Strat, and it's also the first guitar I ever played," says Yates. "I also use my father's Fender Deluxe Reverb amp, and there's just something that sparks in me when I flip the switches and smell the tubes come alive. It reminds me of my father and everything I love about music."
The final piece of Red's equation is Yates' band. Joining him in the studio and on stage are versatile drummer Michael Lamb, his roommate and musical road buddy, bassist Brian Bisky, who has a "real open mind for unique pop melodies," and guitarist Willie Boos, the band's "kid brother" and "badass," all according to Yates. With Yates as the catalyst these components ignite. In the end what he takes most pride in is his ability to take conversational, relatable topics and emotions and presenting them in a consecutive-in the lead, plugged in manner.
"I could have come up with a name for the band but then I would have to tell people I played in the Stumpy Puppets or something, and I've worked really hard to get people to know me for doing my thing in the studio and on stage," says Yates. "What recording and performing as the Alan Yates Band says is that I'm really pleased with the people I get to work with, but most of all my name is in there because I'm saying that even if people come and go -- even if the flavor changes -- I will persist in making music that's intended to move people, physically and emotionally, for a long time."