Lori Yates


Early Years - Born in Oshawa Ontario. At 8 years old, she proclaims she will be a singer or playboy bunny when she grows up after sing The Supremes on Ed Sullivan on tv. In the meantime, sings in school choirs and her life is forever changed.

1978- Lori's joins her first band "Senseless"  and rehearses in a haunted farmhouse above Toronto city limits. The band included ex member of Lighthouse, bass player Louis Yachnin.

1979 – Lori grows away from her self-proclaimed "first generation mall-babe" days in Downsview and cuts her musical teeth at age 19 as a member of Toronto punk/new wave band The Last Resorts.  They play legendary haunts, Larry's Hideaway and the Turning Point, opening for scene heroes, Teenage Head (foreshadowing her move to the renowned punk band’s hometown of Hamilton more than two decades later) and Wayne Kramer of the MC5.

1986 – Lori forms Rang Tango. Roots & cowpunk are the popular music on the Queen St. It’s the unwitting beginning of Yates’ influence on Canadian music and the city’s bursting club scene.  Many will later tout Yates as being one of the pioneer's of "alternative country" in Canada.  Rang Tango’s fresh sound and high-energy performances quickly make them club  favourites among  scenesters  Blue RodeoHandsome Ned, and the Cowboy Junkies.  Rang Tango open for Steve Earle, Alex Chilton, Asleep At The Wheel.

1987Rang Tango releases a 12 EP which is never officially released . After tough negotiations, a heartbreaking decision is reached to take the Sony Music Nashville offer, and signs Yates signs as a solo artist.

1989 - Lori is introduced to the star-making machinery of Nashville after being signed to a record deal by Sony Nashville. "That's when I met legendary producer Billy Sherill, who turned out to be a mean old guy. I remember him saying 'there's only one redhead in Nashville, and that's Reba.’"  Trouble in the Country (track number six on Sweetheart of the Valley) is the story of that visit, which thickens her skin and opens her eyes to the realities of the music business.  The result is her debut album, Can't Stop the Girl, recorded in Music City with producer Steve Buckingham and top player, Marty Stuart. She records a spontaneous midnight session at Cowboy Jack Clement’s studio with Bob Johnston producing. This leads to gigs supporting huge American stars: Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle, and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  Lori records a duet with Gregg Allman for the movie Next Of Kin, and is mentored by Tammy Wynette, Harlan Howard and Roy Acuff at the tail end of Nashville’s golden era.

1993 – Lori then releases her second album, Breaking Point on the Virgin Music Canada label, after Sony Nashville deal.

Lori earns both a Juno and Canadian Country Music Award nomination.

Expertly produced by Colin Linden and John Whynot at the famed Bearsville Studio in Woodstock, New York, it features notable guests Rick Danko (The Band) and Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo) on harmony vocals and Richard Bell (Janis Joplin's Full Tilt Boogie Band) on piano.

1998 – An intriguing musical departure follows with the Virgin Music Canada album Untogether, an ethereal-sounding collaboration with trip-hop duo Opium Concepts whose lineup includes Juno Award-winning producer Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Monster Truck, Arkells). From there, it’s a return to her roots with Hey Stella!

1998–Currently -  The formative years of Hey Stella!, a popular fixture on the T.O. club scene comprising of Yates, guitarist/producer David Baxter, bassist Bazil Donovan (Blue Rodeo) and drummer Michelle Josef (Prairie Oyster).  They release a self-titled album in 2001. ""They understand the kind of songs I write and are masters at that kind of music."  This is the lineup that makes Sweetheart of the Valley Yates’ most celebrated release to date. 

2002 – Lori moves from Toronto to Hamilton, working frequently with guitarists Brian Griffith (Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Daniel Lanois) and Mike Eastman (Ronnie Hawkins) at places like the legendary Corktown Pub (affectionately known as Hamilton’s Best Live Dive).   She co-founds Hamilton punk/pop super group The Evelyn Dicks with Chris Houston, Buckshot Bebee, Jimmy Vapid, and Cleave Anderson.

2007 –Lori releases the highly-acclaimed Book of Minerva, incorporating folk elements featuring multi-instrumentalist and co-producer David Baxter and guest vocals by Yates fans, Justin Rutledge and Tom Wilson. The substantial merits of this country-folk gem are recognized by the Hamilton Music Awards, with Lori winning Songwriter of the Year and Alternative Country Recording of the Year.

2015 – Lori and Hey Stella! begin recording Sweetheart of the Valley at David Baxter’s famed recording studio, Knob and Tube, over the course of three cold, rainy November days.  Each song comes together with an ease like never before and the group instinctively knows something great is coming together.  Guests include guitarist Stephen Miller, pedal steel player Steve Wood, backing vocalists Lisa Winn and Kara Lea Manovich.  Master of mastering, Nick Blagona (Deep Purple, the Bee Gees and The Police) adds aural clarity to the mixes.  Amidst the dreamy/heartwrenching/soul-bearing tracks, Lori provides balance with the up-tempo Whatcha Gonna Do, Corktown and Trouble in the Country. The last two feature an A-list cast of many of Hamilton's best singers: Rita Chiarelli, Mary Simon, Treasa Levasseur, Mimi Shaw, Ginger St. James, Dottie Cormier, Lena Montecalvo, Buckshot Bebee, and Terra Lightfoot. 

2016 - Lori is nominated for 6 Hamilton Music Awards, and is nominated for the Polaris Prize longer list and is booked to play prestigious festivals; Mariposa, Harvest Picnic and Hamilton Music Awards themselves. Sweetheart of the Valley receives world wide air-play, topping out at #6 EuroAmericana chart , and #8 Roots Music Report.

2017 - Lori's words "Concrete rises hits you like a kiss", from her song Angels with Bloody Knees were immortalized in a permanent art project "Music Markers". Designed by artist Dave Kuruc, the totem pole like display is featured prominently in southwest corner of Hamilton's Gore Park, near King & James St. Other artists include:Robbie Roberston, The Arkells, Terra Lightfoot, etc. 2017 was also the year Lori reunited with Hey Stella and started a loose residency at the Cameron House, Tues, 8-10pm. Lori also presented to Hamilton "Walking After Midnight - the songs of Patsy Cline". It proved to be a wildly successful show featuring 12 of the finest female singers singing two of their favourite Patsy Cline songs. 

2018 - Lori's songwriting workshops "Creative Genius Songwriting Workshop" are popular and frequently sold out.  She continues to play weekly with Hey Stella at the Cameron House.


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