2012-05-11 / LifeStyles

Making music

Gates' new CD, .Colorblind Blues,' is a virtual do-it-yourself project
STORY AND PHOTO BY SCOTT POWELL, LEDGER STAFF WRITER


After taking 16 years to work on his last record, Jeff Gates completed his new CD "Colorblind Blues" in just eight months from the "Soul Shack" recording studio he built in an old garage behind his home in Gaffney. After taking 16 years to work on his last record, Jeff Gates completed his new CD "Colorblind Blues" in just eight months from the "Soul Shack" recording studio he built in an old garage behind his home in Gaffney. A n old garage now features cutting edge recording equipment and all the music tools in a place dubbed the "Soul Shack" by studio owner Jeff Gates.

The longtime blues guitarist has blazed another trail in the past several months. The Gaffney resident has become the latest musician to turn towards independent home studios to produce new music rather than search for a major record deal.

Gates played virtually every instrument and wrote most of the songs for his "Colorblind Blues" CD released on April 21. Longtime friend Scottie Thomas played drums on a couple tracks as the only guest musician.

The new record came out just eight months after he held a party last August at Daddy Joe's to celebrate the completion his first CD "You Make Me" in 16 years.

Gates decided he want to work on the new record at his own pace rather than dealing with the expenses and scheduling issues involved in working with a full band. He continues to plays several nights a week in various clubs on his own and with a fun band called "Back Alley Blue" with Daddy Joe's owner Shag Stepp.

"I still play for a living. I just find more and more that I like to be around the house," Gates said. "I really enjoy giving kids guitar and piano lessons and watching them play. My new studio allows me to work with bands to help them record their music. I can work on my own songs whenever I have time. It's made it lot easier for me to get new music out there."

His latest release, "Colorblind Blues," features a different take on "I Saw the Light" by Hank Williams Sr. He received permission from the country music singer's estate to record a version of the 1948 gospel song Williams wrote about his religious convictions.

It has become one of the country music singer's most recognizable songs, featuring poetic lyrics such as "I wandered so aimless, life filled with sin. I wouldn't let my dear Savior in."

From its opening acapella chorus to the blues flavored guitar, Gates has made the song "I Saw the Light" virtually unrecognizable from the original version. The song is available for download as a single track on popular online music sites like iTunes.

"Since it's a gospel track, I didn't feel right keeping any money I made from putting song on the CD," Gates said. "I'm going to donate any money I make off 'I Saw the Light' to St. Paul's Lutheran Church."

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