Taking the lyrics from one of his songs, Billy Yates is country, too country and, what’s more, he’s proud of it. Raised in southern Missouri, in a little town of 1500 called Doniphan, he has been plugging away in Nashville since his arrival in ’87. He’s flirted with big label possibilities as Curb, Columbia and Almo Sounds all expressed early interest, only to let the fire go cold. But Yates didn’t buckle. He overcame disappointment and did what special, ambitious people with a tune inside them do. He started his own label.
As a defiant finger salute to record execs who now probably curse lost opportunity, the former small-town barber (“Daddy was a barber and had always encouraged my brother and I to learn a trade”) started M.O.D. Records. But rather than mope and see the venture as second best, the label is a cause for independent celebration. Without the shackles of a major label, the Grammy-nominated singer and writer has crafted, and, more importantly, won a fair slice of notable European interest (he’s toured there to wide popularity). He’s also had a host of American “names” including George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans, Doug Stone and others cut his tunes.