Lori Yates


Early Years - Born in Oshawa, Ontario. Lori spends her days singing to the birds outside her window. Her family moved to Spadina Rd in Toronto when she was 5. She has her first “lightbulb” moment watching The Supremes sing "Stop in the Name of Love"  on the Ed Sullivan Show. “That's what I want to do,” says a little voice inside. Her fate is sealed.





Lori's hippie poet Grade 6 teacher Mr. McLeod, had the class write a poem a day. At the end of the year, Lori had a thick volume of prose and rhymes, and a writer was born.



Her mind is blown  by Merry Clayton's blistering vocal solo in the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter,"  She dreams about life in music while belting Tanya Tucker, Patti Smith, Pink Floyd, and Dolly Parton down Wilson Ave. She secretly starts to take singing lessons.




1978 - Lori was discovered by Louis Yachnin, the bass player of Lighthouse, at a party in an old farmhouse north of the city. “Senseless” become regulars at the Woodbridge Hotel and Miss Edgar's Muddy Water Hotel, playing Blondie covers for bikers and local farmers.

After a series of gigs opening for male strippers, a second guitar player joins the band. His last gig had been in a stadium. He was a big deal. He turns his amp to ten and yells, "Chicks don't belong in rock," She wears earplugs to hear herself sing. She quits the band but doesn't give up.



Senseless: Tom Kerr, Roger Colton, Louis Yachnin, Kenny Beckett

1979 – Lori outgrows her "first-generation Yorkdale mall-babe" roots and tries to leave Downsview behind.  She discovers Queen St. W, the Beverly Tavern and Ontario College of Art.. She rents a room with her best friend in a “dirty mansion” on Indian Road in Toronto's High Park that has kelly green shag carpeting throughout and a bathtub in the kitchen.


At 19, Lori starts writing original songs with The Last Resorts, a Toronto punk/new wave band. Their first gig was at Turning Point's legendary punk palace with blood-splattered walls and a carpeted stage. They regular gigs the Cabana Room and Larry's Hideaway opening for Wayne Kramer & MC5 and Teenage Head, a career highlight.


The Last Resorts: Stan Demonsky guitar, Bill McMullan bass, John Charlton - Chowie, drums, Pete Hudson roadie








At the Cabana Room



At Larry's Hideaway

1986 – Cowpunk is the popular music on Queen St. W. Handsome Ned is the king at the Cameron House, Blue Rodeo are cutting their teeth at the Holiday Tavern, and Lori unwittingly becomes the “Queen of Alt-Country” when she forms the high-energy cowpunk band Rang Tango. She will be later touted as one of the "pioneers of the alternative country scene" in Canada.

Rang Tango gained rapid popularity with its fresh blend of country & rockabilly. They open for Steve Earle, Alex Chilton, The Mekons, and Asleep At The Wheel.

Rang Tango: Brad Fordham - bass, Ed Goodine - drums, Lee Warren - guitar, Annette Paiement - vocals






1987Rang Tango recorded an unreleased 12 E.P. produced by Danny Greenspoon. Sony Music Nashville offered Yates a contract as a solo artist.













1989 - Lori signs with Columbia - Sony Nashville. 

"When I met legendary producer Billy Sherrill. He shook my hand and said, 'There's only one redhead in Nashville, and that's Reba! I thought, man, I'm in trouble!" Trouble in the Country (track 6 on Sweetheart of the Valley) recounts the story, which thickens her skin and opens her eyes to the realities of the music business.

Can't Stop the Girl, recorded in Nashville with producer Steve Buckingham, includes Albert Lee, Colleen Peterson, and Mark O'Connor. She co-writes with Guy Clark, Don Schlitz, Wendy Waldman and Matraca Berg.



She experienced a spontaneous midnight session at Cowboy Jack Clement's studio with Bob Johnston producing that included Marty Stuart on mandolin and Roy Husky Jr. on bass. She tours with Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle, and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Lori earned a Juno and Canadian Country Music Award nomination.



Lori records a duet with Gregg Allman for the movie Next Of Kin, starring  Patrick Swayze and Liam Neeson. Records with Tracy Chapman's producer in David Kershenbaum.





She was mentored by Tammy Wynette, Harlan Howard, and Roy Acuff at the tail end of Nashville's golden era.


SONY Promo shot



The bigger the hair...



SONY/COLUMBIA Nashville promo shot



Touring band: Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar), Bucky Berger, Kit Johnson, Danny Greenspoon1993


 Lori returns to Canada and records with Virgin Music Canada.



"Breaking Point" is released —Lori tours with Jann Arden, Blue Rodeo, and Colin James.

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

"Ah, that desperate Canadian sound" - Rick Danko, upon hearing Lori sing Rebel Angel.




David Baxter, Cleave Anderson, and Bazil Donovan of the famed Sharks play and tour on Breaking Point.





Back from Nashville...straight hair again...Wallace St. Bridge

1998Untogether marks a musical departure for Lori into the “trip-hop.” It's deemed "before its time" and the second release by Virgin Music Canada. It was produced by Opium Concepts - Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Monster Truck, Arkells), Domenic Macri, and John Gilbert

Although the record was quickly "shelved" mere weeks after its release due to restructuring at the record company, Lori heralds Untogether as where she found her voice both as a singer and writer.

Features a club remix of Lost Highway by the Boomtang Boys and an extended dance mix by Alex G.






Opium Concepts: Eric Ratz, Domenic Macri & John Gilbert - Juno Party

The song "The Future Is Here" is featured over the closing credits for the movie The Hanging Garden starring Sarah Polley.





Virgin Music Press photo












With David Baxter accepting the SOCAN #1 Award for Martine St. Clair's “Usure De Jours.”

 1997 - Hey Stella takes up residency at Ted's Wrecking

Yard - Michelle Josef, Bazil Donovan and David Baxter.


2017 - Lori plays every Tuesday night, Hey Stella, at the Cameron House. They played the gig faithfully until the pandemic shut the doors in March 2020 and started back up when the pandemic ended.




2002 – Lori moves to Hamilton with her husband and baby son. She works with guitarists Brian Griffith (Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Daniel Lanois) and Mike Eastman (Ronnie Hawkins). The musical community lovingly embraces her until she returns to Toronto in the winter of 2023. 

Lori's lyrics "Concrete rises hits you like a kiss" from her song Angels with Bloody Knees are immortalized by artist Dave Kuruc's permanent art installation. "Music Markers" is situated in the southwest corner of Hamilton's Gore Park. Other artists include Robbie Roberston, The Arkells, and Terra Lightfoot.






Emmylou Harris and Brian Griffith at the Harvest Picnic



2005 - Lori forms the Evelyn Dicks with Chris Houston, Buckshot Bebee, Jimmy Vapid, and Cleave Anderson.




2007 – Lori releases acoustic-based Book of Minerva, incorporating folk elements and featuring guitarist and co-producer David Baxter. It was recorded at Pine St Studios. Guest vocalists include Justin Rutledge, Tom Wilson, and Tim Gibbons. 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.








2014 - Winner -  Established Artist, City of Hamilton Arts Award




With Mimi Shaw and Tom Wilson.


2014 - Lori produced sold-out variety shows






With the Nashville Rejects (Pete Sisk, Ted Hawkins, Stephen Miller.



2015 – Lori records Sweetheart of the Valley at David Baxter's studio, Knob, and Tube. Mastered by Nick Blagona (Deep Purple, the Bee Gees, and The Police).

 Sweetheart of the Valley receives worldwide air-play, topping the  #8 Roots Music Report #6 EuroAmericana chart.




Recording harmonies for Trouble in the Country: Treasa Levasseur, Terra Lightfoot, Buckshot Bebe, Ginger St. James, Mary Simon, Dottie Cormier, Lena Montecalvo, Mimi Shaw, Rita Chiarelli.






2015 - Lori created the "Creative Genius Songwriting Workshop," aiming to "write, record, and perform new songs. Because of Lori's vast experience as a writer and performer, the community was naturally drawn to her as a mentor/coach. Creative Genius Songwriting was an instant hit and is consistently sold out from its inception to the present day.





2016 - Lori is nominated for the Polaris Prize longer list. She plays at festivals: Mariposa, Harvest Picnic, and Hamilton Music Awards

With Gordon Lightfoot at Mariposa






With Rita Chiarelli - Harvest Picnic



With Mary Margaret O'Hara - Martian Awareness



With Sylvia Tyson - Mariposa


Lori plays a popular “Facebook Live” Concert every Tuesday during the pandemic. As a result, seven of the songs on her new recording were created in front of a small screen.




2021 - Lori starts recording “Matador”  with engineer Tim Vesely at Blue Rodeo's Woodshed Studio in Toronto.












Alive is released Oct. 2023




Time After Time is released Dec. 2023






Lori is an “11 down” in Canadian Crisscross.