Jeff Bates Plans Conway Twitty Tribute Album, ‘Me and Conway’
Jeff Bates fans won't have to wait much longer for new music from the singer. The Mississippi native has announced that his Conway Twitty tribute album, 'Me and Conway,' will be available on Nov. 11 on Sony RED / Red River Entertainment.
"People always told me I sounded like Conway and though I never agreed, I always took it as a compliment," Bates explains. "I think it's because we were both from Mississippi, enunciated similarly, and we both have that gravel sound in our voices. In 2002, when I met with Joe Galante and Renee Bell at RCA for the first time, I performed 'Long Slow Kisses' and 'I Wanna Make You Cry' for them, and I learned that Renee had been Conway's A&R rep at MCA and she had called the meeting to find out who the guy was that reminded her so much of her friend Conway.
"I went to great lengths to explain that I really didn't sound as much like him as she thought I did, and if she would just A/B our voices side by side and listen, she would hear huge differences," he continues. "She just smiled her sweet Renee smile and said, 'Honey, it's not a bad thing at all. Yes, you sound like you, but when you sing, I hear Conway's soul in your voice!"
The 51-year-old says that after hearing his voice compared to the country music legend for so long, he decided it was time to honor his musical hero.
"If people wanted to think that I sounded like him, then so be it," Bates says. "I could spend my life arguing about it, or I could just continue to write songs and sing what I felt. Then about three years ago, I decided I would 'own it.'"
'Me and Conway' includes six of Twitty's songs and six others so fans can make their own comparisons. Bates includes one of Twitty's biggest hits, a duet, 'After the Fire is Gone,' with Loretta Lynn. The songstress agreed to sing on Bates' new record, and left impressed by his vocal abilities.
"He is one of the best singers I've ever heard in my life," Lynn says of Bates. "I love him, and Conway Twitty would have loved him!"
Bates, who was honored earlier this year by his home state for his numerous achievements, credits the Country Music Hall of Fame member with his own success.
"Conway just always seemed to say the things I needed to say or wanted to say when I couldn't find the words," Bates notes. "I would sing his songs in nightclubs and at shows throughout my career because those songs, his songs, meant something to me personally. I never met the man, but he absolutely had a major impact on my career. I hope he would be proud of this tribute to him."
Jeff Bates, 'Me and Conway' Track Listing:
1. Me and Conway
2. Don’t Take It Away
3. Sleepin’ In
4. She’s Got a Single Thing in Mind
5. If Heaven Had a Phone
6. I’d Love to Lay You Down
7. That Thing We Do
8. That’s My Job
9. Slow Burn
10. Lost in the Feeling
11. Heaven is a Hell of a Woman
12. After the Fire is Gone (duet with Loretta Lynn)