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c. 1964, Alabama, USA. Raised in Bunker Hill, Mississippi, USA, Bates was encouraged to sing as a child by his adoptive parents. He learned gospel songs and a wholehearted and full-voiced manner of singing. He took a job on an oil rig but at the age of 17 sang at a restaurant in Columbia, Mississippi, and was promptly offered a regular gig. About a year later, now in Seminary, Mississippi, Bates was still singing part-time, and after the break up of his first marriage, he moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. He formed his own band, Southern Storm, recorded an own label album and remarried. He began visiting Nashville, Tennessee, but his second marriage was failing. He signed with Warner-Chappell Publishing as a songwriter and settled in Nashville, but before he had a chance to capitalize on this he was first debilitated by addiction to methamphetamine and then briefly jailed on related charges. While incarcerated he changed his ways, and some of his songs were picked...