Tag Archives: life’salovesong

My Old Soul / Life’s a Love Song

When you’re a songwriter, life’s a love song.  I realized that when I was 13 years old and I’ve been living it ever since.  These albums prove that a love song can come in many packages and so can an age old soul.  Song to song, just like life, you never know what’s coming next.

I started these albums in Asheville, NC and finished them in my studio in Atlanta.  Also, a good portion was recorded after hours while building three different solar farms on the road in south Georgia.  The workers would go home and I would start recording, editing or mixing in my car, job trailer or in the parking lot or hotel room of the Hampton Inn.  (Hilton Honors points!! holla)

No matter what the song, “Life’s a Love Song”  is as heartfelt and emotional as anything I’ve ever done and it’s very musical with lots of guitar, sax and harmonica solos to keep things poppin’.

“My Old Soul”, my latest album is very upbeat and positive with lots of synths mixing with the guitar, sax, harmonica and orchestral embellishments.  The lyrical themes are of letting go of the past and moving forward with positive instincts.

Click here to listen on iTunes Click here to listen on iTunes

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Listen at CDBaby
Listen at CDBaby

Listen to “My Old Soul” on iTunes

Chris Cates – vocals, guitar, bass, drums, mandolin, ukulele, piano, synthesizer and charanga.

John Kell – sax and backing vocals

Chris Singleton – bass on much of My Old Soul

Adair Cates, Chris Cates, John Kell and Rob Sankey – backing vocals

Produced, recorded and mixed by Chris Cates

Mastered by Ricky Rodriquez at Bomb House Recording – Morganton, NC     BombHouseRecording.com

Cover pic for Life’s a Love Song by Derek Clayton (Taken while building Solar Phase II at the Chattanooga International Airport)

Cover pic for My Old Soul by Adair Cates

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Our Love Will Show the Way

This is it, the last song on the album!  Thanks to everybody that has listened these last few weeks as I’ve been posting all 15 songs.  If you feel so inclined and feel like supporting independent music, pick up a physical copy at CDBaby or the mp3 album at iTunes.

It’s amazing that I’ve been an independent musician for over 25 years.  It’s been fun a lot of the times, a miserable struggle some of the time and completely rewarding most of the time.  I’ve made it this long so I guess I’m going to keep on, keeping on.  2015 should be a very productive year for me.  I’m almost finished with my instrumental ‘baby music’ album called “Music for Newborns” and I’ve got a ultra-funky classic dance album in the queue called “Super Fantastic”.

“Super Fantastic” will also continue my new collaboration with Ricky Rodriguez and Bomb House Recording, he will now be mixing my music leaving me to solely concentrate on recording.   Mixing has always been what holds me up and now I am finally handing over the reigns to a professional.

Okay, “Our Love Will Show the Way” is a quiet spiritual send out to “Life’s a Love Song”.  It’s very simple but has a wonderful message.  “Our love will show the way, it’s bright enough to light up, even the darkest day”, “Take all you wanna take, what’s mine is yours, things can be replaced, it’s worth the smile on your face”.

This album took a ton of hard work, especially since I was juggling three different major solar farm projects that were all three and a half hours a part.   But perseverance pays off and now I’ve got another music snapshot of my life for posterity.  I’m blessed to be able to make music and I appreciate all of the continued love and support for my blessing and my curse.  It’s hard to be a musician and have to work a “real job”.  I struggle with it mightily but you gotta do what you gotta do.  One day one of these records will hit the right spot and sell twenty thousand units and I’ll look back and laugh.

Thanks again.   Have a great day!

Life's a Love Song CoverIMG_5552

Let the Rain Come

This one was a last-minute addition to “Life’s a Love Song” but I am really glad it made the cut. Nothing like bringing the album to a close with an anthem-like finish.  Somehow it slipped through the cracks when I was picking songs from my backlog for the album until I randomly heard it playing on my computer one day.  I rewrote the verse, added a few instruments and one more large guitar solo, then spent my normal three weeks to mix it.

It’s pretty bad that I’ve written so many songs that I literally don’t remember writing or recording songs I hear from time to time.  It’s almost like someone else wrote them.  Which is cool I guess.  If I’m a fan of my music that makes at least one right?   Thanks for listening!!  Only one more song from “Life’s a Love Song” to be posted.

Click to listen
Click to listen
View all Chris Cates albums on iTunes here.
View all Chris Cates albums on iTunes here.

No Such Thing as Luck

**Warning**  Huge guitar solo!  Today’s tune is about how sometimes true love seems more like fate than luck.

“It’s possible, that I knew you in another life, we were like old friends and lovers at first sight”

This one was written and partially recorded in Asheville then completed at my studio in Atlanta and on a solar farm in Statesboro, Georgia.

The guitar solo is another exercise in simplicity and like Billy Talbot said about Neil Young’s lead guitar one time, it’s only “big notes”.  I try to use space in a guitar solo as much as I play notes.  I guess I’m getting old and don’t want to use acrobatics anymore (that takes too much practice).

Thanks for listening!

Click to listen
Click to listen

moz twins

Click here to listen on iTunes

Timeless Times Like These

Song 10 has my favorite musical passage on the album.  This is simple acoustic number with lead guitar, strings and of course french horn.  It’s about that perfect time to let your loved one know how you feel and being in the moment during those special times in life.

Even though the guitar work is in my usual ultra-simple style, for some reason it seems to remind me of Nels Kline’s work with Wilco.  When it hits the solo after the second chorus is the part that is my favorite part of all of “Life’s a Love Song”.  It goes to show you don’t have to always be ripping guitar solos.  Sometime’s space is the best note you can play.  Thanks for listening!

Click here to listen to  or buy the entire album.
Click here to listen to or buy the entire album.
Click here to listen on iTunes
Click here to listen on iTunes

Anniversary Song

I wrote this on my anniversary a few years ago and luckily it turned out to be one of Adair’s favorite songs! What seemed to be a quick and simple little song turned out to have some legs. You gotta love it when that happens.

I’m playing all the instruments except for John Kell’s sax, which gives it a bit of a Van Morrison feel.  Adair’s singing backing vocals with Rob Sankey, John Kell and me.  The song also features Ringo, my scruffy little dog, singing along to my harmonica at the end of the solo. Listen closely to see if you can hear it.
Thanks for listening!

Ringo with Mozart in the background
Ringo with Mozart in the background
View all Chris Cates albums on iTunes here.
View all Chris Cates albums on iTunes here.

Crazy or Crazy in Love

“Are you crazy, crazy, crazy in love or are you just crazy?” #8 changes styles again and picks the pace back up with a little southern rock guitar thrown in.

I finished this song in a job trailer in Nashville, Georgia (wishing I was in Nashville, TN) while building a six acre, one megawatt solar farm.  I put some pics of the job trailer below to show how hardcore it was.  Usually I’ll get a pretty nice one, but when you are in an extreme rural area, sometimes you gotta take what they give you.  Recording in this thing at night in the middle of nowhere can actually get a little scary, especially when it’s raining and you’re not sure your truck can make it down the half mile mud pit between you and the highway.   Needless to say, I made it out (with this song in tow).

I also figured I’d put another pic of Joy since the baby pics seem to increase my blog traffic times three.   Thanks for listening!

Click here to listen on iTunes
Click here to listen on iTunes

September Flies

Who’s ready for some smooth easy listening? This song sounds like wearing a velvet coat and having cocktail.  Thanks to John Kell’s sax, the bass line and my meandering guitar, we were really able to create a certain vibe.  Kind of a Burt Bacharach meets James Taylor’s ‘JT’ album kind of feel.

The words are about thinking back to a special September night a long time ago.

“It was great, it was tragic, a slight of hand mixed magic, we reached out but we couldn’t grab it, now it’s back and then gone again”

Featuring me on drums, bass, guitar, synths, strings and vocals and John Kell on sax.

Mastered by Bomb House Recording in Morganton, NC.  #bombhouserecording.

Mozart in the studio
Mozart listening to mixes in the studio late at night
Click here to listen to  or buy the entire album.
Click here to listen to or buy the entire album.

The Sweetest Thing

The sixth song is why I love making albums.  Since an album is a complete entity in itself, there’s no need to feel compelled to pack it with as many “singles” as possible.  Albums are all about flow and feeling and that’s what the “The Sweetest Thing” is all about.  This one is a “glue” song keeping the vibe going long enough to hit you with the next song (September Flies)  and also to hit you with some huge french horn, accordion and tenor sax.  Total rock n roll stuff.

The lyrics are about finding the inspiration to write a love song that does justice to the actual feeling of being in love.  I love the second verse:

“It’s the bugs and the bees and the birds up in the trees,  the fish out in the sea,  lovely melodies

The joy when you sing softly along with me,   It’s the sweetest thing,  the sweetest thing”

I put a pic of Joy up yesterday, so I figured I put one up of Coral today.  Even though the word Joy was also in this song’s lyrics.  I actually have a song called “Coral Cove” from the old days (my ‘Summer’ album from college).  Maybe I need to break that one back out.  I digress.    Thanks for listening!

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

The Square Root of Joy

This one has been my favorite song of mine for a few years now.  I love the four on the floor bass drum and of the course major seventh chords that I have a proclivity for using.   This happens to be one of my better drum performances too, I’m not a polished drummer these days so I’ll take any bright spots I can get.

The words are about change and looking ahead.  I wrote this one when we were just starting to make a move.  We were living in Asheville spinning our wheels and knew we had to make an upward move.   Atlanta was not yet a sure thing, we were exploring all of our options (I of course wanted to move to Las Vegas which is not a practical family decision).

“What will we be doing in August and September,  will we look back to this moment right now and remember”.

This song also has my favorite line I’ve written:

“The square root of Joy is Love, divided by two and it’s us, geometrically in perfect touch, we fit together like a glove”.

The song used to be called ‘Geometrically in Perfect Touch’ but since we had our twins and named one Joy, I had to change the name of the song to give her some props.

Joy, showing some metal
Joy, showing some metal
Click here to listen to  or buy the entire album.
Click here to listen to or buy the entire album.