Top 40 Singles of 2008: Jeff Bates - "Riverbank" (#27)

Overcoming adversity, Jeff Bates has managed to have a successful career in country music.  He's scored a few Top 20 hits and released three albums.  Here's our thoughts on the second single from his third album, "Jeff Bates."  It's also our 27th most favorite single of '08.

Sometimes life isn't fair.  Jeff Bates is living proof of that and that's to say nothing of his difficult journey on music row.  After surviving some personal problems, Jeff Bates signed his record deal with RCA Records, scored a few chart hits out of the gate but then radio ignored him.  Was it his love of traditional sounds mixed with an R&B flair? Can't be because that's what's found James Otto rising up the charts.  More than likely it's just the tightening playlists that caused the problem otherwise Jeff would probably be one of the genre's radio stars. 

Undaunted by the fact that radio isn't exactly warming to him, Jeff moved from RCA to the Black River Music Group earlier this year and released his self-titled third album.  After some minor success with "Don't Hate Me For Loving You" on the video channels and secondary radio markets, Jeff and his label sent radio the story song "Riverbank" to radio. 

Over a melancholic melody, Bates sings about how hard it is for us when we lose the ones we love.  The song tells the story of how fishing with his father was his favorite thing to do together.  It's where they just relaxed and enjoyed life.  Rather than sit in the graveyard or home feeling sorry for himself, Bates sings about getting up and going to the river to fish.  He says he'll drop a line for his father too.  It's a song that reminds us that even when our parents or close loved ones go away, they're still with us in our memories and doing stuff that you loved to do together can help bring closure. 

Perhaps this classic-sounding ballad was too much for radio in the summertime and that's what made it not very successful on the charts.  Whatever the case is, Jeff Bates' single is still our 27th favorite single of the year.