The Story 

A rock ’n’ roll, blue-eyed soul icon, singer-songwriter-guitar John Oates is best known as one-half of the iconic ‘70s duo Hall & Oates (with Daryl Hall). Co-composer of many of the top 10 songs that they recorded together, including “Sara Smile,” “She's Gone,” “You Make My Dreams” and “I Can't Go for That (No Can Do),” Oates was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2014, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Hall & Oates. He comes to the Exit Zero Jazz Festival with The Good Road Band, his new Americana music group which includes Nashville virtuosos Guthrie Trapp on electric guitar, Steve Mackey on bass, Josh Day on drums and percussion, Nathaniel Smith on cello, Casey Campbell on mandolin and Adam Ollendorff on pedal steel guitar. They will perform music from Oates’ acclaimed 2018 recording, Arkansas, his deep dive into the roots of Americana music. He described his modus operandi on this latest project to Jambase: “There is a blending of kind of rootsy sentiment and styles on this project with a modern sensibility and a bit more of a pop sensibility. To me, that is who I am. I’m this blending of roots and traditional music that I grew up with as a kid and the popular music that I made through my career with Hall & Oates.” 

Born in New York City on April 7, 1948, Oates’ family moved to North Wales, a suburb of Philadelphia, in the early 1950s. Soaking up the sounds of the ‘60s, he was influenced by the nascent folk scene along with bluegrass, delta blues and ragtime guitar styles, while also immersing himself in R&B legends such as Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, The Temptations, Curtis Mayfield and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. One of his biggest mentors was his guitar teacher Jerry Ricks, who had spent time on the road with Mississippi John Hurt and Son House and introduced Oates to the music of Doc Watson and Reverend Gary Davis, passing down their signature finger and flatpicking styles; qualities that now come to bear on Arkansas

John Oates and Daryl Hall met while attending Temple University in Philadelphia. The two began collaborating and playing music together, marking the beginning of their historic partnership. Since their formation in the early 70s, Hall & Oates have gone on to record 21 albums which have sold over 80 million units, making them the most successful duo in rock history. They have scored 10 number one records, over 20 Top 40 hits, and have toured the world for decades. Their involvement in the original Live Aid concert and the groundbreaking “We Are The World” charity recording have further established them as legendary artists who have stood the test of time. 

Since embarking on a solo career in 1999, Oates has recorded eight solo albums: 2002’s Phunk Shui, 2008’s 1000 Miles of Life, 2011’s Mississippi Mile, 2012’s live The Bluesville Sessions, 2013’s Good Road To Follow and 2018’s critically-acclaimed Arkansas (inspired by the music and legacy of Mississippi John Hurt). Near the end of 2018, he released the EP, John Oates with The Good Road Band-Live. His memoir, Change of Seasons, was published in 2017 by St. Martin’s Press. Oates lives in Nashville and Woody Creek, Colorado with his wife Aimee. 

The Sound 

Expect to hear rootsy tunes like Mississippi John Hurt’s “Creole Bell” and “Spike Driver Blues,” the traditional “Stack O Lee,” Blind Blake’s “That’ll Never Happen No More,” Emmett Miller’s 

It’s like Dixieland, dipped in bluegrass and salted with Delta blues.” 

When & Where: Saturday, November 9, It’s A Breeze/ Hawk Haven Vineyard Stage, Cape May Convention Hall, 4:00pm

Michael Kline