Rising country music star Jeff Bates has a deep and throaty voice that has been compared to everyone from Otis Redding to Charlie Rich. But his voice sounds more like a cross between Josh Turner (in depth of range) and Garth Brooks (in elasticity of inflection). Bates' brand of boot-scootin' twang rock is the stuff of bygone barroom fight scenes reminiscent of 1980s-era Clint Eastwood films with monkeys in them, but he can also ooze the kind of hayseed ballads that will make you want to drop the tail on your pickup and park it in back of the beer joint with your favorite buckle bunny.
Not too many musicians are forthcoming about their addictions to narcotics, especially those who happen to reside in the somewhat conservative confines of Nashville, Tenn., but Bates has no problem admitting that he once had a problem with crystal methamphetamine. Today he considers himself a survivor, and insists country music was his road back to sanity. Since overcoming his addiction, the singer has recorded two albums. On 2003's Rainbow Man, Bates gets in touch with his inner Barry White full of the kind of hot buttered imagery that would make Isaac Hayes blush. With 2005's Good People, he still flies a little to the left of Nashville's radar by delivering more racy songs, but also includes drinking ditties that would sit comfortably on a barstool adjacent to honky-tonk hell raiser Toby Keith.