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Country Gent Bill Yates has Died

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Bill YatesOne of bluegrass music's favorite artists, Bill Yates, 78, passed away yesterday after being hospitalized earlier. One says a bulb burns brightest before it goes out and this was the case with Bill Yates. After being hospitalized for bleeding on the brain, it looked yesterday that his condition was improving. That prognosis did not continue and he passed away Monday. Yates had performed with the Father of Bluegrass music, Bill Monroe and the King of Bluegrass, Jimmy Martin.

Currently the cheerful Yates had been performing with The Country Gentlemen Tribute Band, a fitting position after having been a long time member of the original Country Gentlemen along with Charlie Waller, Doyle Lawson and Bill Emerson.

Bill Yates was born April 30, 1936 in Big Rock, VA. For entertainment, his family would usually either sing around the farm as they worked, sing in church or would listen to the Grand Ole Opry Saturday nights on a battery powered radio. Bill eventually learned to play the bass by listening to records. The people that influenced his musical career include the likes of Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs, Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, the Stanley Brothers and Reno & Smiley.

A few years after learning to play the bass, Bill, and his brother, Wayne, formed a band called “The Yates Brothers & the Clinch Mountain Ramblers”. In later years (and a few band member changes later) Red Allen joined the band and they became the “Clinch Mountain Ramblers”.

Bill later moved to Nashville and worked with many of the greats including Jimmy Martin and Bill Monroe. Finally, in 1969, he moved back to the Northern VA area and joined The Country Gentlemen. In later years, Bill became a full partner in The Country Gentlemen. Bill worked alongside Charlie Waller in The Country Gentlemen for 20+ years, gathering many awards, accolades and friends along the way before finally retiring in 1989.

Due to Bill’s popularity and continued activities through the years with bluegrass music, he had been accurately dubbed as “The Ambassador of Bluegrass Music” by not only his friends and fans, but also by his peers alike.

His musical career was revitalized in 2005 when he assembled the band, Bill Yates & the Country Gentlemen Tribute Band, in tribute to the band he’d put so much of his musical-soul into and has enjoyed the welcoming acceptance the band has received throughout the bluegrass community. Bill made his traveling RV his home, but also occasionally visited relatives in

Update for services for Bill Yates: The family will receive friends from 6:00-8:00 P.M. Saturday, January 31, 2015 and Sunday, February 1, 2015 from 3:00-5:00 P.M. at Pierce Funeral Home, 9609 Center Street, Manassas, Virginia where funeral services will be held 12:00 P.M. Monday, February 2, 2015. Interment will follow at Stonewall Memory Gardens, Manassas, Virginia.!/Obituary

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