Greg Yates passes

Greg Yates, lifelong member of The Yates Brothers bluegrass band, died on May 7. He was 56 years old.

Greg had been dealing with pancreatitis, and underwent major surgery last year at UVA Hospital. More recently he had suffered a massive heart attack which left him in a diabetic coma.

Like his brothers, Greg learned to play the various bluegrass instruments as a boy. Before long, their father John had put them all together as The Yates Brothers Band. You could have seen Greg on either bass or mandolin with the group, along with brothers Herb (now deceased), Tim, and Johnny.

The band came before a wider audience when they started touring with Wyatt Rice in the 1990s. They all met at a Tony Rice Unit show at the Down Home in Johnson City, TN in the late ’80s, and became fast friends. After a few years, Wyatt met their sister Diane, and the two are now married.

Greg and Herb are the writers of Creekfield Woman, a song the brothers recorded which is still played in southwestern Virginia.

More recently, Greg had been performing regionally with his brother Tim, Tim’s daughters Molly and Sadie, and his nephew Jordon Yates.

Outside of music, Greg had worked as a carpenter. He is remembered for his warm, happy personality and welcoming nature.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday, May 10, at the Mountain City Funeral Home Chapel in Mountain City, TN. Internment followed at Jackson-Lewis Cemetery in Taylors Valley, VA.

R.I.P., Greg Yates.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • Jeff Barnett

    Was he related to Bill Yates?

    • Ol’ Blue

      Jeff, I do not believe so. Bill was born and raised in Virginia and played with the Clinch Mt. Ramblers which included the great Red Allen. As we all know, he spent much, if not most, of his professional career with the Gents. If there is a connection to the Yates Brothers from Tennessee, I cannot say for certain.