Dan Bates was born in Denver CO and raised on a farm in rural Wanship, Utah, a small community east of Park City. A seasoned bluegrass musician with over 30 years experience and former Utah State Fiddle Champion, he began playing classical violin at age 4. At age 13 he became a member of the Pee Wee Pickers, a band of young talented bluegrass pickers, touring the United States and Europe performing at various festivals, teaching himself to play mandolin, guitar, bass and dobro along the way. In high school, drawing from personal inspirations such as New Grass Revival and Alison Krauss & Union Station, Dan collaborated in forming the trio Bluegrass Expression with fellow friends and musicians Rex Shupe and Ron Child, also former members of the Pee Wee's. Bluegrass Expression played various venues throughout Park City, Utah and along the Wasatch front and in 1991 got hired to play a season in Nashville TN at Opryland USA, where the trio also cut their first self titled album.
Soon after high school, Dan got with fellow bluegrass musicians Ryan Shupe (also formerly of the Pee Wee's), April Lancaster and Craig Miner and formed the powerhouse bluegrass band Salt Licks wherein he played fiddle, mandolin, guitar and sang lead and harmony vocals. Salt Licks played multiple venues and festivals and won numerous awards collectively and individually in various competitions, including 1994 Telluride Bluegrass champions as well as Northwest Regional bluegrass champions. Salt Licks went on to be crowned International Bluegrass champions at the 1994 Pizza Hut International Bluegrass Showdown in Owensboro, KY, jamming with and competing against some of the best bluegrass musicians/bands in the world, including then up and coming band Nickel Creek. Dan has personally won or placed high in various individual competitions, including 1994 Telluride Flatpack guitar and fiddle champion.
As Dan's dream of following in his fathers footsteps and pursuing a career as a professional pilot began to take priority, Salt Licks gradually morphed into the currently very popular band Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band.
Attending Dixie College and flying constantly to acquire the necessary ratings, he continued to play as time allowed, including getting a weekend job in Las Vegas playing country music at the Nevada Palace with fellow Utahn, friend and singer Blain Brown. This is where his love for country music blossomed.
Dan eventually attained his dream flying professionally and is currently a Captain for Delta Air Lines based in Salt Lake City. After the devastating attacks on our country on September 11, 2001, many airline workers eventually lost their jobs or became 'furloughed'. Dan was no exception and was eventually furloughed from Delta in 2002. He decided to move to Nashville and utilize one of the only other skills he had prior experience with to try and put food on the table for his family. He played and sang for tips in various bars on Broadway and in Nashville's famous Printers Alley and quickly got noticed by country singer Mark Wills, who hired him on the spot touring as his 'utility player', playing fiddle, acoustic guitar and mandolin as well as singing background vocals. This led to numerous amazing opportunities, including playing numerous times on the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman, live radio, playing on one of Wills' albums, and even being asked to travel to the Middle East with Wills, country singer Craig Morgan, actress Traylor Howard, and comedian Al Franken for a USO tour, performing for our U.S. troops in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. Dan also was fortunate to meet and perform with various other artists including country singer Julie Roberts, Daryl Worley, and Eric Church to name a few. Many of these friendships and music relationships continue to this day.
Today, with nearly 20 years seniority at Delta, Dan Bates is finally able to make time for something that brings joy and a form of escape to himself as well as others. Music. Although the passion and love is there for multiple genres and artists, including favorite Frank Sinatra and even hip hop, country music perhaps speaks to his soul more than any other. He performs both solo and with fellow artists for various private and public events and venues, playing acoustic versions of popular songs from mostly country, folk, bluegrass and even '80's pop genres. He has several albums under his belt, including a multi-instrumental Christmas album performed and recorded completely by himself and available on iTunes and Amazon.