Bob Bates' country music activity includes songwriting for other artists as well as picking and singing on his own and with the duo of Bates & Barr. Bates has been active in Nashville, where he has been featured on important programs, such as WSM's Ernest Tubb Record Shop Midnight Jamboree, and performs regularly with country great Charlie Louvin. Bates also seems to have maintained a strong New England base; the previously mentioned duo tours in this region, and the Bates songwriting catalog netted a 1998 award from the Northeast faction of the Country Music Association.
His duo partner, Nick Barr, helps bring it all together, so to speak. The music of the Louvin Brothers is an important part of the duo's repertoire, which also includes bluegrass standards and originals. Both men are adept on guitar and mandolin. Bates also has had many opportunities to interpret the Louvin oeuvre in the presence of the grand man Charlie Louvin himself, including features on The Grand Ole Opry. The Bob Bates Band is another touring project around the Northeast country circuit, promising a stage show wherein "Buddy Holly meets Hank Williams Jr.." The talented Bates also bows a bit of cello on a record by the Dyer Switch Band. His songs include "Gotta Feelin'," which the Dyer Switch Band liked enough to record two versions.