Terry Oates began playing guitar at the age of 13 after receiving a Sears Silvertone for Christmas. He grew up in a very musical environment. He spent a large part of his childhood at his grandparent’s house where his aunt and uncle, who were teenagers at the time, played the Beatles and Mod and the Rockers. His father and his grandfather both played guitar and his grandfather, Hetzel, who was left-handed, strung his guitar backwards and played it upside down. In addition, his great aunts, great uncles and other relatives would get together and sing Barber Shop and other old songs by groups like the Mills Brothers.
The greatest influence on Terry’s desire to play guitar was his uncle, Rick Oates. At the age of 18, Rick played lead guitar and sang backup vocals with Mod and the Rockers. Terry watched his uncle practice in his basement with record by Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and the Allman Brothers. Watching Rick’s fingers effortlessly rehearse these guitar greats only fueled Terry’s desire to play and Rick became a valuable educational resource.
After a few formal lessons with Allen Brill at the Guitar Studio in Winchester, VA, Terry began studying guitar and music theory on his own. Eventually, he wanted to further hone his craft and attended a classical guitar and music theory class through the Community Arts program at Shenandoah Conservatory. Since then, Terry has been an active member of numerous bands and has fretted his way through a variety of musical styles ranging from Blues to Rock and Heavy Metal to Country and even Marimba!
Over the past several years, Terry has played at the Rocky Gap Music Festival and has had the honor of opening for a multitude of national acts such as: Molly Hatchet, Charlie Daniels, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lori White, Leroy Parnell, The Mavericks, Savatage, Wrathchild America & Funny Money. He has also sat in with Skunk Baxter at the Winchester Blues House Festival and most recently opened for Tinsley Ellis at the 2009 Blues House Festival in Winchester. Terry’s musical career has been a never-ending journey of musical education and enlightenment. He is constantly experimenting with different styles and techniques. His journey has finally brought him full circle and back to his roots of blues and blues influenced music. He is currently performing with his new band Terry Oates and the MudCats and will release his first solo CD early in 2010.