Album History

Vibrate at the Highest Level - Cvr2

Chris Cates “Vibrate at the Highest Level”

My last single released in 2019, this song is a universal mantra we should all live by.  We are made up of energy that is constantly vibrating.  If we keep our vibration at a high level based on unconditional love, good things are bound to happen.  This is my song that tries to embody that.

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FTF - Cvr

Parakeet Nelson “Follow the Feeling”

This album was mostly recorded in 2009 and forgotten about until 2018 when I rediscovered it and decided to complete it.  And it turned out to possibly be my best work to date!  It features some very funky songs with intricate instrumental jams throughout and interesting segues between songs.

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Table Rock - DG1

Chris Cates – “Appalachian Rhapsody”

My instrumental tribute to the beautiful North Carolina mountains where I grew up.  This epic instrumental features a recurring theme throughout and several rock orchestral sections based around my harmonica. The awesome cover photo was taken by Danny Gale  ( a great drummer himself).  For more of his work visit

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What Did I Did Cvr

Parakeet Nelson – “What Did I Did” 

A funky and silly rap song over an intergalactic beat.  Parakeet Nelson’s first single in 17 years comes out with a bang with a super catchy hook and general absurdity.

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Chris Cates – “My Old Soul”

15 songs about living life as a human being not a human doing.  Once again, I play all drums, guitars, keys etc. with a lots of great sax by John Kell and long time bass player Chris Singleton lending his expertise to half the tracks.  This upbeat album mixes sax with synthesizers, classical instruments and lots of danceable beats.  It’s hard o pick a stand out because every track has it’s own undeniable character.  You’ll have to listen your self to figure out exactly how to describe this one.

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 Mealtime Brown – “Fresh Beet Suite”

In the early 2000’s, I made my living as a rap producer and beat maker in Athens, Georgia.  I worked with fantastically talented rappers and producers.  One of whom, Danger Mouse, has gone on to worldwide acclaim.  Although I never reached that level, I had lots of leftovers from that time period that never came out. This album is a collection of my more minimal numbers that were composed mainly on my Korg Triton.  It’s a great record to bob your head to or just to have on in the background.  “Decatur Funk” and “Lionel Up” are a few of my favorites.

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Gringo Rock! Cover

Gringo Rock!

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to do my version of a “heavy metal” album, so why not release a 20 song one to start right?  The songs are definitely rocking and you can hear some of my favorite metal influences here and there (Iron Maiden and S.O.D.) along with my goofy sense of humor  (“Heavy Metal Nice Guy”, “Where the Hell are My Keys” etc).  Once again, I’m playing all instruments (a necessity these days since the band is in NC and I’m in GA) and honestly almost every instrument is done in one take (hence the looseness of the music).  But nevertheless, the songs are good (at least I think so) and the album just keeps going because of the sheer amount of songs that are on it (I actually cut 8 songs ha).

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Click here to listen!

Chris Cates – “Music for Newborns

After our daughters were born on Christmas Day, a photographer came in the next morning and took the picture of Joy that became the cover of “Music for Newborns” and once I saw it, I knew I could compose a symphony around that image.  And that’s pretty much what I did.  I was inspired to make a beautiful calming landscape of piano, french horn, oboe and all of my other favorite orchestral instruments.  Most of it was recorded with the babies sitting right beside me in the studio, looking up as I composed on the keyboard or guitar, so it has been baby tested.

Hopefully this will be endearing background music to many other families as they make memories with their children or at least background music to folks that want to relax and enjoy some serious counter melodies.

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Click here to listen to or buy the entire album.
Listen to the entire album.

Chris Cates – “Life’s a Love Song

Love songs don’t all have to be slow, this 15 song album is a testament to that.  I recorded it partially in Asheville during my 365 songs in 365 days campaign and then finished it in Atlanta and on the job site after hours while I was building three separate solar farms at the same time with my colleagues in South Georgia.  The songs vary from funky jam pop and soul to lounge, blues and indie rock.  With stripped down acoustic numbers like “Moonlight Madness”, uptempo indie rock (“The Square Root of Joy”),  adult contemporary (“September Flies”), Neil Young-esque (“Anniversary Song”) and lots of unclassifiable tunes (“Silly Things”, “Celebrating All Your Wonders” etc.), these songs are fused with feel good vibes.  Featuring me on all of the instruments except sax, played by John Kell and backing vocals (John Kell, Adair Cates, Rob Sankey).

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Chris Cates – “Funny Golf Songs Vol. 1″

After my first golf inspired record Triple Bogey with 17 Holes to Play proved to be a popular release, I knew I had to come back with a new batch of golf tunes.  “Funny Golf Songs” is filled with hilarious story songs, golf novelty songs and songs created from all the verbiage you hear on the golf course.  A must have for all golfers.  Highlights include “Hippie at the Country Club”, “Pinehurst and the Golf God” and “Golf Superintendent Song”.   Famed designer Donald Ross even gets his own little ditty which was a honor for me since I grew up playing Mimosa Hills which is a great Donald Ross course.   Compared to my first golf themed album, this one is more stripped down musically, but much more dense lyrically.  And it’s pretty darn funny!

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Click to listen or buy

Chris Cates – “365 Songs for 2010 – Vol. 3”

Vol. 3 highlights twenty songs from mid-March through the beginning of May from my ‘365 Songs for 2010′ project.

It starts with the southern pop song “Crazy or Crazy in Love” and is followed by a wide array of musical styles. Funky songs like “Workin’ on Workin’ it Out’ and hilarious one’s like “Value Meal Sonata” are fully represented (mostly one take) with me playing all the instruments. This is a good album for folks that like up tempo songs.    *No longer available for purchase

Chris Cates – “365 Songs for 2010 – Vol. 2”

I gets funky and funny on Vol. 2 of his ‘365 Songs for 2010’. “History of Deviant Behavior” and “Thank You Carlos Santana” get the jams going while “Super Bowl Sunday” and “Nascar & Valentine’s Day” create a few time pieces to take you back to that exact day.

Highlighting 20 songs from the 60 or so I wrote and recorded between February through the beginning March, this record includes standouts like “Walking Around the City” and the disco jam “Shake it Off”.

*No longer available for purchase

Chris Cates – “365 Songs for 2010 – Vol. 1”

Volume One of greatest hits from my ‘365 Songs for 2010’ blog. I play all the instruments and cover a wide array of serious and hilarious subjects.

Featuring 20 songs like “Snow Day”, “Sunny Afternoon Blues”, “Heavy Metal Nice Guy”, “My Old Soul” and the crazy funky song “Hot Cold and Out of Control”

*No longer available for purchase


Chris Cates  “Oh, Ricky Rubio”
Another basketball single done during my 365 songs in 2010.  When I posted this on my blog for my song for that day, the Spanish national media picked it up and ran stories about how America made a song to get him to join the NBA (when it was really just me making a funny song ha).
Anyway,  I’ve always been a Ricky Rubio fan.  In the song I’m asking when he’s gonna come to the NBA.  At the time he was still in the Spanish league.  He was drafted by Minnesota, who maintained his rights, so the song is trying to convince him to come to Minneapolis because “it is exactly like Spain”.  They have a very similar climate. Ha. 
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MEALTIME BROWN “Kobe Time (2010 Playoffs)”
Watching Kobe will the championship in the NBA Finals in 2010, I literally wrote and recorded this while it was happening.  Kobe Bryant would not be denied.  Of course on my end it’s just funny stuff as usual. But I do get to shout out to Metta World Peace (aka Ron Artest) who was integral in that game as well.
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Chris Cates – “Carolina Songs”

On this great sounding record, I try to take you from the mountains with “Carolina Wind”, “Linville Caverns”, and “Carolina Trees” to the beach with “Slow Beach Music” and “Beach Beat”. Rounding it all together with “Boogie in the Mountains” and beautiful ballads “Restless Love”, “Carolina Moon” and “Outer Banks”.  The songs intertwine heartfelt lyrics with electric, acoustic and classical guitars, harmonica, sax and piano. Creating a wonderul musical landscape that is a true celebration of life in the Carolinas.  It also includes a few original shag tunes I wrote specifically for my Dad and Mom who love to shag dance.    Featuring Chris Singleton, Jason Peeler, John Kell, Corina Casanova, Adair Cates and Tricia Peeler.

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Chris Cates & the MasterPlan – “Dead Man’s Suit”An uptempo classic. “Dead Man’s Suit” takes a hardriving fun sound and mixes it with poignant subjects and redneck tales.  I play several silly and tragic characters on songs like “Smellin’ Good” and “My Town”. Chris Singleton is featured throughout, keeping the bottom end dancing while capturing the essence of a Chris Cates & the MasterPlan live performance. John Kell’s alto sax also accents my soaring Gibson guitar with the drumming duties split by former Parakeet Nelson drummer Dave Brockway and current  MasterPlan drummer Jason Peeler.

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Chris Cates – “Passion & Purpose”A fun jazzy rocker that’s also a helpful tool for self motivation.

Auto Suggestion (what you say to yourself) has been proven to change every aspect in a person’s life, from health to wealth to happiness. With that in mind, I created an entire positive album sung in first person. By singing along, the listener reinforces sub conscious thoughts of gratitude, love, success, strength and balance.

The best part is that “Passion & Purpose” is filled with fun rockin’ tunes and great sax, guitar and piano. It’s the perfect thing to listen to on the way to work to start your day off ready to take on anything.

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Chris Cates – “Triple Bogey with 17 Holes to Play”My rock n’ roll comedy album about the treacherous sport of Golf.

Hilarious songs like the title track, “3 Putt King”, “I’m Stuck on the Bogey Train”, “Early Tee Time”, silly interludes and other surprises make this album a must have for all golfers. Featuring Chris Singleton on bass, Jared Callahan on drums and me on everything else, ‘Triple Bogey’ does not fail to bring some hard-driving rock n’ soul, country and blues. Don’t play golf with out it!

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Chris Cates – “Sneak Preview”

A special release four song preview of my ill fated album “Maybe This One Will Sell”.  It features the happy uptempo ‘Favorite Surprise’, the funky and funny original version of ‘Dead Man’s Suit’, my latest tearjerker ‘Twice as Many Reasons’ and the big rock finish, the original ‘My Town’. These songs feature Dave Brockway on drums, John Kell on alto sax, Mike Lowdermilk on bass and me on vocals, guitar, harmonica, mandolin, keyboards and drums.

*No longer available in stores*  (but can be heard on the Getaway Plans Anniversary Remix album)

Chris Cates – “Getaway Plans”
The  final album recorded during my tenure in Athens, Georgia. This album moves my music in a new direction, exploring an americana sound based around virtioso violinist Andrej Kurti and the Parakeet Nelson band. Featuring Dwayne Wallace, Dave Brockway, John Wayne Tuggle, John Kell, Jason Fuller and Marlon Patton along with me playing guitar, mandolin, piano/keyboards and singing. Highlights from this album are “Your Lucky Umbrella”, “Gasoline” and “If U Feed it, it Will Grow”.  Other great songs like the ode to the road musician “Wild Man” and the deeply beautiful “Cosmic Rays” show a few other layers of my tortured musical psyche.

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Parakeet Nelson – “Risky Biscuits”A turning point in my career as a songwriter and producer, “Risky Biscuits” won Album of the year at the 2004 Athens Flagpole Music Awards.

‘Risky Biscuits’ is an eclectic funk/pop masterpiece featuring Mike Elam, Gary Hartle (aka G the Nefarious), Dwayne Wallace, Seth Hendershot, John Kell, John Wayne Tuggle, Dave Brockway, Daniel Marler, Jason Fuller, Andrej Kurti, Jesse Cole, Hiro Noodles, Blood, and Coda Båerfider.

“New Sport for Prime Time”, “Don’t U Funk with Me” and “Bukowski & Captain Kangaroo” are a few stand out tracks. Great for funk / jam band fans!

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Phallic Phungus & Parakeet Nelson – “100% Frische”

I joined up with the avant-garde jazz funk group Phallic Phungus for their European Tour in the summer of 2001 and continued to tour with them until the core of the group moved to Austin, Texas in 2003.

This live album recorded at the Georgia Theatre and the fabulous 40 Watt captures the songs written for that crazy European tour.

Super jams on silly originals like “Freeballin'” and “Das Stimmt” along with several Cates classics “B&H Patrol” and “Paradigm Shifting” make this a musician’s favorite.

*Rare CD that’s mostly unavailable but several of the tracks can be heard on the Mealtime Brown presents..  Anniversary Remix album.

Parakeet Nelson “Mealtime Brown presents…”

My first big budget album co-produced by with Peter Fancher at the famed Elixir Studios in downtown Athens in 2000. This album features an array of outstanding musicians, mainly Jeramy Lamanno (aka Hiro Noodles), Brian Head, Moo Goo Gai Pan (Micheal Durham), Ryan Scott, Mike Elam, a not yet famous Dangermouse, Winslow Willard, Dwayne Wallace and others.

17 songs explore funk, jazz, rock and punk on this highly polished, overly produced rocker that was recorded on famous vintage equipment (2 inch tape mixed to 1/4 inch tape).  Highlights include “B & H Patrol”, “Paradigm Shifting” and “Big Big Otherwise”.


Chris Cates – “Good With Gravy 2”

The first album I recorded in Athens, Georgia (’99) at the famed Elixir Consortium Recording Studios and with famed engineer Peter Fancher. This record, also a live solo acoustic album, starts to mark my new funkier style that would become my trademark sound in a few years, as I slipped deeper into the Parakeet Nelson personna.

*Only available if you can find one. It is a very rare CD.

Chris Cates – “Sweet Tea”

This live in studio solo acoustic album captures me just before leaving North Carolina for the glory days in Athens, Georgia. Recorded in the fall of 1997 at Outback Studios in Lincolnton, NC, this record features “Jim Jams”, “Transparent Alligator” and several other rare Cates tracks that do not show up in shows much any more.

* Rare cassette from back in the day.  Only a few still exist.

Parakeet Nelson – “Servin’ it Up”

The first album I released as Parakeet Nelson, recorded at Outback Studios in Lincolnton, NC in 1996. Featuring the original line-up of Jason Peeler on drums, Kent Schwengel on bass, Chris Cates on guitar, vocals and harmonica; along with the legendary Chad Lawson on piano/keyboards, Wes Powers on percussion and Jeramy Lamanno as liaison.  Featuring a good mix of songs that have survived to be on some of my newer albums played by some great musicians.

* Rare cassette from back in the day.  Only a few still exist.

 Chris Cates – “Blueberry Stains on the feathers of a Rollercoaster Day….”

My last album recorded while attending Appalachian State University in 1995/1996. This eclectic record features the first version of “Egg Sandwich”, the very rare track “Wings of October”, and the East Dorm composed “Human”. I play all the instruments with a bit of help from Jeramy Lamanno (soon to become known as Hiro Noodles).

* Rare cassette from back in the day.  Only a few still exist.

 Mealtime Brown – “Mealtime Brown”

Mealtime Brown started as a song by Jeramy Lamanno and me and then became an album, then a band (before officially changing the name to Parakeet Nelson in 1995), and then became the name of my production and publishing companies in 1998. This album, recorded Thanksgiving and Christmas of 1994 chronicals the creative genius and sponaneity of Jeramy (aka Hiro Noodles) and me. Highlights include Lamanno’s “Fogjuice” and “Into the Unknown”, as well as my original version of “Tumbleweed” and lots of silliness.

* Rare cassette from back in the day.  Only a few still exist.

Chris Cates – “Fall”

Following up on the seasonal theme of the “Summer” album, I released fall in October of the same year (’93). This album is more of a soundtrack than an actual album, weaving instrumentals and reprises of songs together with a few actual songs. As it states on the inside ‘this album is meant to be listened to while driving in the mountains.  The song “Shadows” stands out as the songs I wrote in that era and performed frequently at clubs and in the lobby at East Dorm.

* Rare cassette from back in the day.  Only a few still exist.

Chris Cates – “Summer”

This album captures the events of my indian summer of 1993, painting vivid impressionistic pictures of nights on John Crowe’s land, crazy trips into the mountains and emotional heartbreak of love gone wrong. “Great Truths”, “Meteor Shower” and “She Blooms” are a few highlights of this album in which I play every instrument and attempt dense harmonies.

* Rare cassette from back in the day.  Only a few still exist.

 The Seeing Eye Band “80 Mph at 4:00am”

This album captures the events of the indian summer of 1993, painting vivid impressionistic pictures of nights on John Crowe’s land, crazy trips into the mountains and emotional heartbreak of love gone wrong. “Great Truths”, “Meteor Shower” and “She Blooms” are a few highlights of this album in which Cates plays every instrument.

* Rare cassette from back in the day.  Only a few still exist.

Chris Cates “The Flannel Demo”

My first album of material mostly written in Boone, NC as a freshman at Appalachian State University. Recorded at Fred Rumfelt’s studios in Marion, NC in early 1993 playing solo acoustic guitar with harmonica, live in the studio. This album became very popular on campus and in the dorms fueled by some inspired performances at the Beanstalk Coffee House, my main venue in Boone at the time.

* Rare cassette from back in the day.  Only a few still exist.

The Seeing Eye Band – “Spectrum of Music”

Recorded live at the Lake James Elks Lodge by uber-engineer Lalanni Azradahli (aka Mike Lowdermilk). This record captured the Seeing Eye Band’s best line-up of Jeramy Lamanno on drums, Jason Peeler on bass, Kirk Leonhardt on congas/guitar, Mike Lowdermilk on guitar and Chris Cates on vocals, guitar and harmonica. Recorded December 1992 pretty much live.

* Rare cassette from back in the day.  Only a few still exist.

“Good with Gravy Acoustic Album”

My first official solo album featuring the original version of “Flannel Dreams”, “For Astrud”, “Rattlesnake Woman Blues” and “Caverns”. Recorded spring of 1992 at Lombardy Acres Studios in Morganton, NC, Produced and engineered on a Tascam 424 and I play all of the instuments.

* Rare cassette from back in the day.  Only a few still exist.

The Seeing Eye Band – “Volume 1”

The first album released by the notorious original Seeing Eye Band that featured Jeramy Lamanno on drums, Greg Beaver on bass, Jason Peeler on organ/guitar and Chris Cates on vocals, piano, guitar and harmonica. Recorded at Fred Rumfelt’s studio in Marion, NC this album is a teenage one take masterpiece and an amazing testiment to the band that was made up of all sixteen year olds. Featuring the classics “Psychadelic School Bus”, “Polyester King”, “Falling Star”, “Riverboat Special” and “Gamblin’ Man”.

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* Rare cassette from back in the day.  Only a few still exist.



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Welcome to Chris I'm an old school independent artist with lots of albums, songs, solar panels etc. This site tries to encapsulate what it is I've been doing since I played my first professional gig at 13. I post a song of the day occasionally from my somewhat excessive original song catalogue and I'm constantly recording new material when I'm not building solar farms, trying to play golf or tennis or taking care of my new twin girls.

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