Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

April 2, 2014

Yates plays by his own rules

ASHLAND — Jacob Doyelle Yates doesn’t tend to follow trends as he pursues his own path in the world of music.

“My main instrument is tuba and ukulele,” said Yates, 22, a member of the Paul G. Blazer High School class of 2011, explaining he also plays piano, guitar, bass and practically any brass instrument. The tuba, however, was the instrument that started it all, he says, noting he became fascinated with the ukulele after hearing Internet sensation Jake Shimabukuro perform “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

"I play a lot of his (Shimabukuro’s) stuff and my own now, using different techniques,” he said on the morning after one of his somewhat-rare public performances at The Lamp Post Café, which he concluded with a bouncy bit of improvised blues.

A seasoned performer with groups including the Greater Huntington Symphony and the Greater Huntington Brass Band, as well as his years with bands at Blazer, Yates said his solo concerts have so far been limited to a few performances at the former TSHD Architects office during Ashland’s First Friday Art Walk and recent appearances at The Lamp Post Café. With a chuckle, Yates acknowledges he can play many popular music and country songs that might allow him more opportunities to play, but says that part of the music world is not what he is after.

“I enjoy playing ... rock, jazz and classical — and some blues. I try to mix everything together,” he said, discussing his distinctly non-Hawaiian approach to the traditional Polynesian stringed instrument.

Weaving his own arrangements and compositions in with those of his favorite artists, Yates said he enjoys presenting unexpected aspects of the tiny instrument’s soprano voicing.

“I feel my style kind of fits me,” he said. “People don’t think about the ukulele in that light.”

His first ukulele was a gift from his grandfather, Lewis Dunn, Yates said.

“It was from the 1930s. No name inside or out — just pure wood and nylon strings,” Yates said, adding Dunn actually gave him two of the vintage instruments, although only one had tuning pegs and strings. With great appreciation for the history of his grandfather’s instruments, Yates said he has since adopted a modern acoustic/electric ukulele he purchased online. He advises anyone interested in taking up the ukulele to do his or her own research by listening to the abundance of contemporary musicians who have posted performance videos.

“Take the music you like and try to make it into ukulele music,” he said.  

When not playing music or working at his family’s business, Premier Duty Gear on 16th Street, Yates said he spends considerable time writing computer programming, composing songs for marching bands and brass bands or compulsively researching whatever happens to be on his mind.

“I research everything,” he said, shaking his head slightly as he explained his interests are as varied as medical science and fine art. “My gears are always turning — nonstop.”

For more information or to book an appearance by Yates, email him at blmvxer@gmail.com.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • In GOP South, pushback against Obama climate rules

    In the Republican-heavy Southeast, critics said Tuesday that a plan by President Barack Obama’s administration to cut pollution would raise electricity prices, result in job losses and may not significantly curtail the carbon emissions blamed for global warming.

    July 29, 2014

  • AK Steel posts smaller 2Q loss

    AK Steel Holding Corp. (AKS) on Tuesday reported a smaller loss in its second quarter, and topped analysts' expectations.

    July 29, 2014

  • ambulance.jpg UPDATE: Major impact downtown in accident

    A morning accident left an ambulance resting on its side Tuesday morning in front of the Paramount Arts Center on Winchester Avenue.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Jesse Stuart Foundation celebrates 35 years

    The annual Jesse Stuart Foundation Open House from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 will be a huge celebration.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729hagerman.jpg Hagerman talks law with Rotary

    At Monday’s lunchtime meeting of the Ashland Rotary Club, Boyd County Circuit Court Judge C. David Hagerman summed up current local legal trends — and how cases, courts and criminals have changed during his 20-plus year tenure.
     

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • POLICE BEAT: Houseguest steals valuables, nabbed at pawn shop

    Fish and houseguests both stink after three days — and much less time when a visitor pockets valuables without permission.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Iconic Gate City bank torn down after partial collapse

    This weekend, Catlettsburg’s downtown silhouette lost one of its longest-lived landmarks.
    Demolition workers began to tear down one of the Gate City’s oldest downtown buildings following the former Catlettsburg National Bank’s partial collapse.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Study shows room for parking improvement

    It has been suggested that the parking layout along Winchester Avenue should change, bringing the city’s main thoroughfare down to two lanes.

    July 28, 2014

  • Anti-smoking tour kicks off in Ashland

    A scan in 2009 that was supposed to show doctors what was causing Deborah Cline’s eye problems by chance revealed the cancer in her lung.
    Two years later, Roger Cline watched his wife die of lung cancer. Deborah Cline was 59 and had never smoked.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Gate City landmark demolished

    The historic Catlettsburg National Bank Building was being taken down after the front dormer window collapsed on Sunday.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos