the rank outsiders ball
released march 2014
| Album $9.99, Singles 99 cents
"...Intriguingly brisk music with smooth focused vocals...There is a universality of time and place that ultimately succeeds here, while retaining a personal style. I don't even want to pin it down more than that. I'll just lean back and listen some more" (David Hintz, www.folkworld.eu)
"A wonderful slice of Weimar sleeze...With short, crisp songs, the album sounds not unlike a musical soundtrack with a cast of losers and freaks, with Wates in the role of MC" (R2 Rock N Reel www.rock-n-reel.co.uk)
"Lyrically articulate and literate...he's been compared to Brecht, Gordon Lightfoot and Brian Protheroe...Despite the variety of musical colours, [the CD] doesn't stray too far from the path of its chosen genre...But then why would you want a glass of Riesling when you have a whole case of champagne?" (Mike Davies, Folk Radio UK on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at www.folkradio.co.uk.)
"...Sitting in a weird twilight where a late Edwardian country village fete rubs up against sleazy Left Bank chic...'The Rank Outsiders Ball' is one of those albums that feels slightly out of time and in doing so, becomes timeless...There's 14 tracks on this cut and frankly every one of them's a winner." (Neil King, Fatea Showcases UK on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at www.fatea-records.co.uk.)
"...A smidgen of Django, and a little dose of the English music hall leavened with the panache of an expert Continental quartet. Wates is...a marvelous lyricist...he writes words that sing. At first one is tempted to call them Brechtian, but...they're actually better, more subtle and supple. And his brevity...stunning. So what you get here is an under-recognized master of the indie circuit having fun making what was never truly old new. You hope he, and the (Band of) Geeks, receive their due, because the time out of mind experience delivered here is truly affecting." (Steve Klingaman on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at www.minor7th.com.)
"...Traveling a step beyond where folkies and mellow rockers fear to tread...'Outsiders Ball' is decidedly Rupert's most mellifluous, most stripped down...and most internally subversive release, with fangs not noticed until they're deep in your flesh, smiling back up at your shocked face...Start anywhere you like in his catalogue, it doesn't really matter, 'cause you'll soon be moving on to the rest rather quickly... Lend an ear to a sometime samba boogie, other times a breezy Balkan ditty, once or twice as though Gordon Lightfoot were contemplating turning Lothario before seeing Bryan Ferry across the room..." (Mark S. Tucker on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at FAME.)
"Acoustic folk pop, at times heavily influenced by jazz, and featuring deft guitar playing. The songs are completed with lyrics that are tightly focused, demanding the listener's attention. The quartet offers a sophisticated, spirited and committed performance. The content is...like the cover, a little warped and different but at the same time appealing" (Zero Magazine, Gothenburg Sweden)
"...Wates has a long history of...good albums in the folk genre and this album is no exception...'The Entertainer' is an amusing look at some seedy goings on, with a wry delivery from Wates and expert playing by his band...Wates paints a sad yet compelling tale of the need for escape. It's a great album" (Anna Maria Stjarnell, www.lunakafe.com)
"Rupert Wates convinces once more as a songwriter and teller of outstandingly melodious tales" (Karsten Rube, Folkworld, Germany www.folkworld.eu)
"A very fine disc from the richly talented Rupert Wates which we recommend warmly." (Valsam, April 2014, on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at rootstime.be.)
"..Perfectly sung and perfectly played...think of the witty musical interludes in topical television shows of the sixties, and you're half way there..." (Paul Kerr, 15 May 2014, on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at Americana-UK.com.)
"...Delving into the world of cabaret and Weimar-style sleeze, it's more garden party than wrecking ball" (Sean McGhee, Vive Le Rock UK Magazine)
Calling all geeks, misfits and loners: there’s a place for us all at The Rank Outsiders Ball.Rupert Wates’ latest release continues the themes of his earlier CDs “Joe’s Café” (2010) and “At The Losers’ Motel” (2102), envisaging a place where people come together, and where music is the force that binds them. On this disc, Wates’ sound is more consistent and unified than ever before. A single chord gave rise to all 14 songs. Moving away from folk, Wates gets closer to vaudeville and even theater. He depicts the world itself as a stage, a circus in which we are all performers. At The Rank Outsiders Ball, the more outrageous your role, the better you’ll fit in.
The album was recorded live in the studio in three days. It features contributions from virtuoso musicians Bartosz Hadala (keyboards), Trifon Dmitrov (bass) and Chris Howard (percussion). Stand out tracks are ‘The Rank Outsiders Ball’, ‘Drowned’, ‘Time’ and ‘Travelling Circus’.
Rupert Wates welcomes us all to the ball, in the voice of a born outsider: uniquely and even defiantly his own.
– Leo Green, BiteMusic Limited
at the losers’ motel
released spring 2012
| Album $9.99, Singles 99 cents
★★★★★ "Wow! Rupert can wow an audience with his amazing voice and his astonishing guitar skills. Rupert Wates has the four magical keys to being a superb singer/songwriter; he has a pitch-perfect voice that's soothing as well as enticing, his lyrics are pure literature. Rupert's tunes will hook you after a few notes and his hands pull melodies out of a guitar that seem almost magical. But there's no slight of hand, it's all Rupert. His songs will keep you coming-back for more. Two thumbs WAY up!" (Customer review, iTunes)
"You will find surprising beauty "At the Losers' Motel." Listen to the ring of the fingerpicking that opens Rupert Wates' latest release. Or the lovely modulation as the title track moves into its middle section. Or the joyful attack on the strings in "Waiting to Begin" and the energetic solo in "Tired..." Acoustic guitar is what we listen for at Minor7th and Wates' serves effectively throughout as his orchestra. The arrangements feature, at one time or another, backing vocals, double bass, and percussion here and there making some edgy moves. String arrangements prettily support lyrics... But the mix consistently gives the guitar unusual prominence. Adroit wordsmithing reflects the writer's mindfulness. Note the embedded rhymes here: "Taking hard knocks is a lonely school / but when you know you know nothing / you're the wisest fool of all / And you step up to the fool's role call." The lyrics offer rewarding moments of self-reflection as when Wates admits his membership in the "Fools' Parade..." In the reviewed "Dear Life," Wates focused on the bleakness of the contemporary world. Here, looking at the human condition in a more personal way, Wates proves himself to be, once again, a tuneful music man of the melancholy." (David Kleiner, Minor 7th.com, March/April 2013)
"Another solid effort from the ever-reliable Wates. He's written some truly affecting song and gets great support from the band. 'Fools' Parade' is a strong song with a powerful lyric about the follies of humanity. 'Why I Had to Leave' is a reflective song of love lost that gets a lovely treatment. "Be Near Me' is a warm, comforting song that shows Wates at his best. He's made another fine album. (The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music)
"Rich full-band folk music ... When Love Came to Stay invokes some of the finer British folk artists heading more toward John Martyn or Michael Chapman... a voice somewhere toward Nick Drake, but a little deeper... This album will appeal to a lot of folk-rock singer-songwriter fans out there." (David Hintz, FolkWorld, July 2012)
"I'm not sure which to praise more: Rupert Wates' marvellous lyrics, the spotless music, or that streetside cabaret folk voice of his, a crafted instrument which seduces as it gently reproves...This is one gifted S.O.B., throwing off song after affecting song with what appears to be complete ease...If you're not hip to this guy, you're missing a lot." (Mark S. Tucker, Folk And Acoustic Music Exchange)
"One of the most beautiful discs I have heard this year... I think you will agree this CD has everything a good disc should have" (Preach, www.rootstime.be - in Dutch - translation from Dutch by V. De Waal)
Recorded in three days live in Asheville's Echo Mountain Studios, the 12 songs on Rupert Wates' latest disc portray the ancient struggle between time and human tenderness. Featured musicians are Mike Holstein (double bass) and Valorie Miller (backing voice).
released spring 2010
"A brilliant album all told." (Ectophiles Guide To Good Music)
"Tearing aside the veneer of consensus reality...'Joe's Cafe' burrows deeply into heart and mind." (Folk And Acoustic Music Exchange)
Joe's Cafe is a new and unique album concept. Fifteen original songs based on true stories, each interpreted by a different vocalist, retell the stories of ordinary American people, and through them trace the story of America itself. Recorded live in the studio in a single weekend, the album's warm sound evokes the welcoming atmosphere of an all-night cafe, where friends gather to share their stories. Featured virtuoso musicians include Darol Anger on violin and Michael Manring on bass.
'Prayer'- Semi Finalist, Bandwars 2011
'Days Of Mercy' - Honorable Mention Bandwars 2011
'Sally's Farm' - Honorable Mention, Austin Songwriters 2010
released fall 2008
| Album $9.99, Singles 99 cents
"Every cut's a gem, completely absorbing, enthralling." (Mark S. Tucker, Folk And Acoustic Music Exchange)
Recorded in a single weekend at the peak of Wates' summer 2008 US tour, this a darker, more intense album whose songs concern the violence and fragility of modern life. Sparse instrumentation supports the somber mood. The album features superb paying by outstanding musician including virtuoso bassist Michael Manring.
Overall - Finalist, Best Lyrics Category, Indie Acoustic Project 2008
'Elegy For The Coming Man' - Honorable Mention, Independent Singer-Songwriter Awards 2008; Finalist, Bandwars 2009
'I Dream' - Honorable Mention, North Carolina Songwriters Contest 2008
coast to coast
released summer 2007
Listen | Buy at CDBaby | $12.97
| Album $9.99, Singles 99 cents
★★★★ "A treasure – Provocative lyrics and unforgettable melodies." (Customer review, iTunes)
★★★★★ "Golden – This guy is unbelievable." (Customer review, iTunes)
"A delight to listen to." (Britsound Radio New Jersey)
Wates' second solo disc is a musical road trip: a portrait of contemporary America through the eyes of a cultural outsider, employing a sound reminiscent of the melodic folk of 1970s popular radio. Recorded in Paris, London, and Seattle, the album features outstanding contributions from Grant Dermody (blues harp), Matt Wates (sax), and Frank Ricotti (percussion).
Overall - Top 10 Album for 2007, Britsound Radio NJ
'California' - Honorable Mention, Great Lakes Song Contest 2010
sweet or bitter wine
released autumn 2005
Buy CD | £7.99 | Free UK delivery
| Album $9.99, Singles 99 cents
"Sweet or Bitter Wine has just the right flavor to satisfy the soul." (L. Heflick, PupFictionBooks.com on Amazon.com reviews)
★★★★★ "An excellent guitarist, a fantastic singer, a poetic lyricist... and a gifted English gentleman." (Customer review, iTunes)
This is Rupert Wates' debut album as a solo artist. Developed from an earlier collection entitled Acoustic Cafe, it is an anthology of acoustic-based, melodic pop songs with jazzy flavours and a generally upbeat tone. A launch for the album was held at the Spice Of Life, Moor Street , Soho , in April 2006.
Featured musicians include: Frank Ricotti (vibes and percussion); Adam Glasser (Harmonica); and Matt Wates (Sax).
'After The Rains' - Top Prize, Folk Category Songwars 2009; 2nd Prize Overall, Mid Atlantic Song Contest 2007; 2nd Prize, North Carolina Songwriters Contest 2007; Finalist, Great Lakes Song Contest 2008; Finalist, Wildflower Song Contest 2008; Song of the Month, Songwriters Universe, February 2007; Honorable Mention, Billboard 2010