2005 is when the idea of The Country Gentlemen Tribute Band was first born, when Bill Yates, 20+ year member of the Country Gentlemen, Darren Beachley and David Propst met at Cabin Fever Picking Party in Hampton, VA and sang some old and new Country Gentlemen songs. Later, after further deliberation, they decided to go through in creating a project in tribute to the Country Gentlemen. After a search produced the addition of 4 more members, in August of 2005 the “Bill Yates and Friends: A Tribute to the Country Gentlemen” project was initially started and later was completed and released in December 2006 on theMasterShield Records. Due to the popularity of the first project, a second project was started and released in August 2009 under the name of “The Country Gentlemen: Tribute II”. This recording was expected to make an even bigger impact than the first one, and it certainly lived up to its expectations.
Bill Yates toured with and fronted the band for 9 years until he tragically passed away the night of Monday, January 26, 2015, from complications due to cancer. He leaves behind a historic legacy of music, having the honor of previously performing with many bluegrass greats down through the years, such as Red Allen, Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, but most importantly the Country Gentlemen.
Now, with a plethora of urging and support from friends, family, fellow musicians and promoters alike, the band has decided to continue on the legacy of the Country Gentlemen as The Country Gentlemen Tribute Band not only without Bill, but in honor of Bill.
The current lineup that will be continuing to perform on stage will include: Mike Phipps on guitar and “Charlie Waller” sound-alike vocals, David Propst on mandolin and vocals, Lynwood Lunsford on banjo and vocals, Eric Troutman on upright bass and vocals and Geoff Gay on dobro and vocals. They will continue to move forward and perform in tribute as closely as possible the tunes from yester-year thought to be long lost for the ages, as they re-create each tune, vocally and musically as it was previously originally performed and presented.