When Bill Yates passed away in January, many people wondered what would become of the band he had created, billed as Bill Yates & the Country Gentlemen Tribute Band. He had assembled the group to perform the old songs the Gentlemen had recorded during his 20 year run with the band.
It turned out that Bill had previously asked the guys to keep the band together after he was gone, and so it shall be done. They will honor all the dates booked for this year and beyond, and are accepting bookings for this year and next, retaining the same material and flavor.
Announced over the weekend was news of a new bass player. Mike Conner of Roanoke, Virginia is stepping in to that role. In recent years Mike had worked with the reformed Travelers, and in a duo show with guitarist John Miller. He is taking the spot with the Tribute Band vacated by Larry Kirk.
Conner says that it’s an honor to be part of such a tribute.
“The original group is the reason I play bluegrass music. Kinda freaky that 44 years ago, I heard Charlie Waller, Doyle Lawson, Bill Emerson, and Bill Yates on stage at Lakeside Park in Roanoke ( they opened for Emmylou Harris), and although Skaggs and Rice played with her that night, it was the Gents that set me on fire.”
You can keep up with The Country Gentlemen Tribute Band online.