"Thursday April 7, 1948, Al Jolson was voted most popular singer in America by Variety magazine, and Columbia Records introduced the new 33 1/3 long- playing record album. At 1 A.M. that day, I was introduced to the world at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, starring as the first child born to Anna and Alfred Oates." (Excerpt from Change of Seasons)
John Oates is one half of the best-selling duo of all time, Hall & Oates, as well as an accomplished solo artist. Singing from the time he could talk and playing the guitar since the age of five, John Oates was destined to be a musician. Born in New York City, his family moved to a small town outside of Philadelphia, PA in the early 1950s, a move that would change the course of his life.
Soaking up the sounds of the 60s, John was influenced by the nascent folk scene, bluegrass, delta blues, and ragtime guitar styles, while also immersing himself in R&B legends such as Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, The Temptations, Curtis Mayfield, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. One of his biggest mentors was his guitar teacher Jerry Ricks, who had spent time on the road with Mississippi John Hurt and Son House, and introduced John to the music of Doc Watson and Reverend Gary Davis, passing down their signature finger and flatpicking styles.
John is a diverse musician and songwriter active in Nashville community and beyond. Founded in 2010, he was the creator and executive producer for the “7908 the Aspen Songwriters Festival” at the historic Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, CO. In 2013, John teamed up with Jim James (My Morning Jacket) to curate the Bonnaroo Super Jam with special guests Britney Howard, Billy Idol, R. Kelly, Larry Graham and the Preservation Hall Jazz band.
In April 2017, John released his memoir Change of Seasons co-written with Chris Epting and published by St. Martin’s Press. The acclaimed title was an Amazon best seller and has been received with both outstanding critical and fan reviews. After completing an extensive book promotion tour in the spring of 2017, Oates resumed work on an important music project that represents the next exciting phase in his burgeoning solo roots music career. The project is entitled Arkansas and is set for release in 2018.
Originally inspired by the music and legacy of the legendary Mississippi John Hurt, the project grew to encompass other artists and styles that represent the dawn of American popular music. Stylistically diverse and eclectic, the collection features a full band that was put together specially to bring the full range and flavors of classic American musical styles to life. Oates crafted a number of original songs for the Arkansas album; selections actually inspired by the process of digging deep into the sonic soil of authentic roots music. “I really believe this is the most vital and satisfying solo project I’ve ever
embarked upon,” Oates says of Arkansas. “Of all the music I have ever made with anyone, for me this album sits right up there.”
John resides in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Aimee.