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R.I.P. Corby Yates, guitar prodigy

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UPDATE: A sad update to the Corby Yates story. Corby took his own life Monday night after struggling with schizophrenia and mental illness in recent years. Read my Fresno Bee column for more of the story. I’m told funeral services are private, but there will, eventually, be musical tributes to him. I’ll give you info on those when they’re announced.

ORIGINAL POST, 9/25: Sad news hitting the local music scene today: Corby Yates, the once-teenage blues guitar prodigy, has died. Details are few at this time, but musicians he played with and a few of his close friends are verifying that Yates died Monday night.

Yates started to play guitar at age 6 and when he was 11, he won the Charlie Daniels Guitar Wars Competition. He was the national winner of the Jimi Hendrix Music Competition when he was a junior in high school. He attended Sierra High School in Auberry.

“My goal is to become the best blues musician that ever was, ” Corby, then 15, told The Bee in a 1996 interview.

At 18, Yates moved to Santa Cruz to play more gigs in the Bay Area and along the coast. Last I talked to him, in 2007, he was 26, living in Brownsville (near Chico) and had just released his third CD. His last local performance was in 2009, opening for Robin Trower at the Tower Theatre. Another album was released earlier this year.

Below are a few videos showing Yates’ talent on the guitar. The first was filmed during a Fresno show at Crossroads. The second was in the Bay Area and includes his longtime friends Ian Blesse and Toby Cordova, who are better known these days as Strange Vine. I’ll update this post when I learn about his death or any services/memorials/tribute shows in his honor.





REMEMBRANCES FROM THE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE

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Responses to "R.I.P. Corby Yates, guitar prodigy"

Stephen says:

Unfortunately not the biggest surprise. Saw him and spoke with him about a year or more ago, he was pretty out of it.

Not speculating, but my friends and I figured it was just a matter of time.

Condolences to his friends and family.

Brandon says:

Not sure the public announcement of a human being’s heartbreaking death is the best place to post a snarky, passive-aggressive “I told you so.” Have some class, buddy.

Art Silva says:

I remember being a freshman in HS and seeing Corby playing Weezer for our school talent show as he wore my friends red sweater. One of the coolest school memory of mine. We still talk about it from time to time. I would love to get all the fellow Sierra High School mates that are in bands and do a memorial show. There’s quite a few of us who all went to school with him that can jam some tunes for him. RIP Corby. The music will never be forgotten

Anonymous says:

Agreeing with Brandon. Stephen, if you in fact do have class, you should remove your comment immediately- if nothing else, do it out of respect for those the family and friends who have just lost their loved one.

Tiffany York says:

Corby was an AMAZING MUSICIAN! I will never forget his performance of The Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze in high school! People were cheering for him like it was a rock concert! It’s sad to hear when a classmate has died, especially so young! God Speed Corby!

Tyler says:

I first saw Corby when I was 13. 15 years later I consider him a friend and the most insane musician I’ve ever known. The music is eternal and memories last a lifetime. You’ll be missed brother.

a friend says:

He was a great friend — Stephen – really, seriously no tact whatsoever. I remember watching him play when he was 14 – mind.blown. Not only was he a kick ass musician, but a damn funny guy and I will never forget him.

athena ringer says:

i saw him n 98 he was just a baby…i was spellbound…cant imagine he is gone…never ever forgotten!!!

Mike says:

Corby was great. Went I school with him since the 3rd grade. He will be missed.

Patti says:

Our family has been watching Corby since he was 14. What an amazing musician. I always said “he turned in to his guitar” when he played. What a loss to the music world. He was such a gentle soul.

Matt Wittkins says:

I saw Corby for the first time at Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz….he was 16 and could play like a mad man…saw him every time he played there since..he was amazng…the music world just lost a guitar genius…so sad…

George B. Feist (DUKE) says:

I saw him when he was in his early teens…He played in the CAMBRIA PINES LODGE with his dad. It was the evening of my buddy Rons wedding to Jill….he rocked the place…I have a very early recording of him given to me by a friend of his. AMAZING TALENT…condolences to his family.

CorbyPal says:

I can’t believe people are big enough jerks to post a comment such as that. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Don Heflin says:

Everyone can speculate what you want. None of it matters. Myself, I want to think of the special talent that was bestowed on everyone that ever heard Corby perform. He was one with his guitar.
Once confirmed I could only think of another great guitarist who is now by his side. Bimbo Walker and Corby united once again.

Condolences to his family and friends from the entire Central Valley Blues Society

Michelle Jumps says:

Wow stay classy Stephen…
I would just like to reiterate how much he rocked the SHS talent shows, among many other venues in his life. His wit will never be forgotten…. nor will the music.♥

Katrina Kennedy says:

Corby… What a gift and Talent you ARE… I remember you calmed me down before my first talent show at Sierra.. You also sang Red Hooded Sweat Shirt and made us all smile… I can still hear you playing the national anthem… You are legit anywhere your soul is… Always.

Danielle says:

Seriously, dude. Rude.

CorbyPal says:

Great memory, George. I remember when he used to play gigs in Cambria. So unbelievably talented. He did things on the guitar that I’ve never seen in my life.

Letty says:

@ Stephen OMG, talking about being SO rude.
My deepest condolences to the family and friends. RIP Corby.

Corby was avery talented your man. What a great loss. My wife, Letty, and I are sad. May his family find peace somehow.

Andrew Overbay says:

Man, a flood of memories just came to me. Yelling across the quad (Dehh!!!) to flexing in the mirror in Spencer’s class. You were an amazing musician second only to a kind, funny, caring friend. I’m sorry I didn’t stay in touch and I regret not coming to see you play for quite a while. RIP my friend. Mutha!!!!!!

Linda says:

So sad he was very talented. Stephen you are a low class jerk.Remember the good in a person why in the world would you post this.Shame on you.He’s gone he can’t speak for himself.People like you are a dime a dozen but people like him are rare to find.May God forgive your ugly mouth.

stephanie says:

Corby, an amazing beyond words talent! I grew up with him, and we will never forget the smiles, ooo’s and awwww’s he brought to us, our whole school, our whole town, and beyond. Not just an prodigy in music but also an amazing and sweet soul! Never forgotten Corby!! We love you!!!

Ian Dryden says:

I am deeply saddened tonight to hear of the sudden death of Sierra High Alumnus and legendary blues guitarist, Corby Yates. He was beloved by many, so I know how difficult this untimely event must be for his friends and family. He was an incredibly kind and generous person. I have many fond memories of Corby during high school as a classmate, musician, and friend. My most sincere condolences go out to all those affected by this tragedy. RIP Corby. You will indeed be missed.

Robert Fleming says:

Haven’t seen Corby in years but all these old Corby memories are taking me back. My condolences to his family and all his close friends. ART, would love to see Strange Vine and others play a tribute venue for Corby. Shoot me an email if you do robert.f.fleming@gmail.com.

Terry Ogden says:

I was Corby’s teacher in 3rd, 4th, and 7th grade. He was a sweet, kind, thoughtful kid. My wife and I took him and Deuce, his buddy, to a SF Giants game at the old Candlestick Park in the early 90′s. Those mountain kids were in wide eyed wonder the entire day. We didn’t realize they had run out of spending money early in the day until we reached Carl’s Junior in Los Banos on our way home. When we bought them dinner, they ate like they had never seen food before. Rest in peace my gentle friend.

barbara says:

My brothers went to school with him.I remember my dad bringing home his first Cd and I was simply blown away by the beauty that filled my ears!rest in peace and prayers for those left behind! Corny your music shall forever live on’

Scott Amberg says:

So crushed….Someone posted a comment on my youtube video…this is how I find out, ughhh!!!. I loved corby as a person and as a brilliant musician…I’m totally stunned….You will be truly missed. I will do what I can to get the rest of my videos of you out there for the world to see…Rest in Piece my friend.

Jennifer Dohen says:

You will NEVER be forgotten!! prayer and blessing to your precious family……

Dan Bates says:

Shocking and sad news. Corby was a gentle soul who’s spirit is now infinate and eternal. A sweet guy and superb picker. RIP Corby.

hobie says:

Sorrow fills my heart for his family and friends.

I first saw Corby play in a bar in San Luis Obispo when he was about 16. He amazed us with his proficiency on the guitar. I remember telling my friend that it was like Jimi Hendrix had stepped inside the body of this young boy. We made a point of catching every Central Coast show he did until we moved away in the early 2000′s.

This is indeed a sad day.

Stephen says:

Yeah, I apologize. I guess I was treating Corby’s death as if he were a public figure, since I don’t know him other than from his performing career.

Since you guys are his close friends you would have known MUCH better than I whether or not he was in trouble in any way.

Again, my condolences.

De'Anna Balderama says:

RIP Corby Yates, the badest guitarist we’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and hearing. We will never forget all the memories and shows! You will be missed, loved and never forgotten! Keep on rockin!! Our thoughts and prayers go out to your Family and Friends!

Patti Ogden says:

Here’s a local remembrance of Corby. He gave a free winter’s evening concert at the Auberry Library. The place was packed, every chair taken and folks standing in the room too. Corby took his place on a chair, guitar in hand, and proceeded to rock the place with his special brand of blues. Mid concert the power went off, no lights, no amp. Did that stop Corby? Not at all. Flashlights came out, and Corby continued to play and sing the rest of the evening. It was a magical night. Like seems to happen to so many young, talented musicians, Corby is gone way before his time. RIP Corby.

cynthia stull-appling says:

I have known Corby and his entire family for many years. He and my brother where in the same class and we grew up with him. We have watched him play in local talent shows starting at Pine Ridge Elementary all the way through Sierra High, and Blues festivals. I am so saddened by this news, and hope that other people can respect the loss that we are all going through regardless of personal speculation. He was still a human being and still has people whom love and always will love him.

Caresse Heitzman says:

Ahhh my dear friend Corby. How sad I was to hear you were gone. I have
known you and been your friend since I was in kindergarten and you
were in first grade at PRS. I remember how hard you rocked the Star
Spangled Banner at your 8th grade graduation. I remember all of the
talent shows where you brought everyone to their feet. But most of all
I remember what a shy, quiet guy you were. Until you picked up your
guitar and seemed to pour your very heart and soul out through your
fingers for all the world to see and hear. I will always treasure the
time I saw you playing with your dad and Ian at the little hole in the
wall bar in San Jose on my birthday. You gave me a birthday shout out,
and even signed a poster for me. The last time I saw you, you were
playing at the same place with Ian and Toby. Man how I will miss you.
Gail and Jim, know that the Heitzman hearts are with you in this your
time of grief.

Karen says:

i cant even begin to tell you how corby will be missed…he was like a big bluesy cosmic bear, like from the Grateful Dead..he and his dad
lived out in the sticks with very sketchy phone service and extremely rustic accoutrements..and yet they worked on their music constantly- the web site, practicing, composing, contemplating–at times he would speak about a topic with as much passion as he played and i admittedly had a hard time keeping up! but when he smiled, it didn’t matter whether or not i understood for the glow of that beautiful face and the sound of his rare soul shaking laugh transcended every thing—
shalom to you and your family and friends

Jeff says:

I know there’s a lot of anger directed toward you for your comments. If your speculation is in regards to drug or alcohol induced death are accurate, I believe it’s important to understand this and help to educate others on the extreme dangers and often the unwilling compliance of those that love the talented many so much that they tolerate self destructive behavior. My brother just died after a long illness that was complicated by his drug abuse. I have a lot of anger towards those that gave him drugs, did drugs with him, and failed to get him clean when it was obvious he couldn’t handle what he was doing. I realize he was ultimately responsible, but sometimes abusers need help and our family could only do so much. I know for me, I’ve used my brothers death as an educational opportunity for those still smoking, toking and shooting to get clean. I’ve endured some hostility from his old drug buddies, but in the end, they know I’m right and accpeting responsibility for their contribution to his death will probably never happen until they get sober.

Stephen says:

Excellently said, Jeff. So poignant and aware.

My deepest condolences to you.

Steve huffman says:

I became good friends with Jim and Corby when they moved to La Selva Beach. I was their mechanic and Corby recorded ‘Fungus Blues’ at my home studio. I am devasted by this news. I loved his artistry and his soul and have fond memories hanging out at their house just shooting the bull and jammin a little.

JC Smith aka Johnnie Cozmik says:

So sorry to hear the news
He was on fire and took the scene by storm in the early 2000′s

Dribble says:

I don’t know what’s worse.. the people implying bad behavior caused this or the hipsters trying to outdo one another on who saw him first.

RIP Corby. One talented MoFo.

Bob Pierce says:

So very sad that our music has taken another very talented soul. The reason does not matter! The heartbreak is the same!!

I remember watching Corby play at Crossroads in absolute amazement! What a talent, and what a nice young man.

If you can read this in heaven, Muddy, Bo, Etta, Jimi, Howlin, Janis and Kurt…..take good care of our boy!!

Corby's Aunt Patty says:

Stephen, I’m Corby’s Aunt Patty and I found your comment to be profound. Corby is my ONLY nephew therefore I shall & will turn your less than compassionate “comment” into a positve one. All I care to say is your ignorance & lack of compassion for our family at this time leaves much to be desired. I pray that none of your family has to ever endure the pain we are feeling at this time, for mental illness can affect any one or any family

Sanantha Lombardi says:

Corby you are an extreme talent! You have touched soooooo many people over the years. Music is a very powerful language that you spoke with talent and grace. You’re untimely death leaves a lot of us with heavy hearts for now there will forever be a void in our lives. You will live on forever through your music and in the hearts of all who love you. You are a legend. RIP CORBY!!!!

Robert says:

A great voice gone silent. My thoughts to his band mates, to Ian, and Corbys family.

bill harris says:

The frist time i saw corby was at the state in modesto. I had heard of this kid, but i didn’t know what to expect. From the frist chord i sat there with my mouth on my chect, gazing with wide wonder at a true gun-slingin’ guitar man! The music just flowed through him. Amazing! Never missed him after that. I talked to him before and after a few shows. He always had time to say howdy to me and my bro Louie. He was just a nice kid. A great loss. Much Love to his Family.

Jim Dill says:

Dear aunt Patty, what wonderful memories we have of Corby.My heart breaks for Gayle and you.I will never forget when I handed him my guitar in a acoustic jam ,I took another, when we were done I said Damn Corby thats how it’s supposed to sound? It was a 1972 Gibson J 100….. I will play it now and cr.

Melissa Blasingame says:

Corby will never be forgotten we were in school together from Kindergarten to High School I always enjoyed when you would play for our class and talent shows but NOTHING BEATS our 8th Grade Graduation I still get chills thinking about it. My heart breaks for Corby’s Family Gail I love you and am Praying for your family I have so many wonderful memories to many to list but a few of my favorites Mt. Music Fest in Shaver, Crossroads, High School talent shows but I will never forget how sweet he was always took time to say hi and talk to me for a little while no matter how many fans he had I always got a smile and a hi I will miss that :’-(

anon says:

Not sure why Stephen apologized when Corby’s Aunt Patty confirmed his view that something was wrong with Corby, that he was suffering from some sort of mental illness.

As the SO of a clinical psychologist, I wish folks would help remove the stigma of mental illness and to help people get the help they need.

I don’t know Corby, not being from Fresno, but I have seen stories of him in the past. The stories remind me in some ways of the stories of the late Michael Hedges, who I had the pleasure of seeing perform on campus many times when we were both students at the same university. So I am sure his loss is a tragic one.

Nonetheless, I don’t get the animosity towards Stephen for pointing out that he noticed Corby had changed for apparently the worse the last time he saw him.

I wish more people were able to get more services to people like Corby when they notice something wrong. Instead of attacking Stephen for noting what he noticed (and for which Corby’s aunt essentially said was accurate as far as it went)., why not take Stephen’s words and your caring for Corby to learn what you can do to spot similar symptoms in your own circles and what services might be available and how to connect those in need with those services?

That seems like it would be a fitting legacy to me in a tragic situation that otherwise is what it is.

Patti Ogden says:

Patti Ogden Here’s a local remembrance of Corby. He gave a free winter’s evening concert at the Auberry Library. The place was packed, every chair taken and folks standing in the room too. Corby took his place on a chair, guitar in hand, and proceeded to rock the place with his special brand of blues. Mid concert the power went off, no lights, no amp. Did that stop Corby? Not at all. Flashlights came out, and Corby continued to play and sing the rest of the evening. It was a magical night. Like seems to happen to so many young, talented musicians, Corby is gone way before his time. RIP Corby.

Stephen says:

Aunt Patty, you’ll never forget how you loved Corby.

I, too, suffer from mental illness, and lost my father to suicide.

I was just (poorly) commenting on how his mental illness seemed to be getting the better of him. My truest condolences on your loss – may mental health services continue to grow and thrive somehow in our society.

Danece says:

I am so sorry to hear of this very talented young mans death, i have seen Corby perform a few times and he was a great musician, but I had a brother who was a great musician and he to is now gone, some people need to understand that in order to be great you sacrifice a lot, and I know that my brother gave all for his career, it is a sad day indeed, let us show respect for his passing and send prayers to his family, some people never get the chance to realize they need help before it is to late, we will miss him no matter what the circumstances of his death, My family and I shall prayer for his family during their time of need

Stephen says:

Anon, I think that’s what Corby’s Aunt was trying to say when she said ‘she was going to take it as a positive.’ It’s also what I was (again, poorly) trying to say in both my posts.

As a mental illness sufferer, I noticed Corby’s downturn and I was trying to NOT offend or get too detailed when I wrote my first comment.

Your comment runs the truest, along with Jeff’s. It was my allusion in my apology comment – I certainly wasn’t Corby’s friend – I only knew him from Starline gigs when I worked there – but the writing to me was on the wall…he was clearly suffering.

But I figured his friends and family are closer to Corby and saw and knew what he must have been going through, and I trust they did all they could to both help Corby when necessary but also to grant this grown man his space and independance as Corby wished. It’s a fine and difficult line to tread.

I’m with you completely, tho, Anon. First Lady Rosalynn Carter has worked her entire life for mental health care, and she recently admitted her life’s work had failed, as mental health services had decreased while jails have become the go-to mental health facility for eventual non-treatment.

Miles to go. Miles.

Aunt Patty Bocchini-Lamb says:

Thank you Stephen for responding to my post. The goverment needs to pass laws which allows greater funding for programs and persons whom suffer from such a silent disease in order for them to receive proper treatment. Unfortunately many people are ignored which not only endangers their own life but others around them. All I can do at this time is be supportive of Corby’s mother who’s my sister, but I encourage the public to get involved and support “NAMI” National Alliance for Mental Illness, they have chapters nationally and one in Fresno Ca. to be exact. We the people need to write our congressmen and stress the importance of greater funding, promoting awareness etc. so families and one’s in need can be recognized and not ignored. I’m deeply sorry for your loss also. God bless you and your family Stephen
Sincerely,
Aunt Patty, Atanta, GA

Aunt Patty Bocchini-Lamb says:

Dear Anon, nothing was mentioned by Stephen mentioning anything about mental illness in his initial comment, therefor his apologize was warrented. Maybe you need to pay attention to one’s comments, you are the professional…..right… or so you stated. We need to all become more proactive with this cause but I do thank you for voicing your opinion. These comments should be focused towards Corby’s brilliant gift of which he was given.. to write, sing and play fabulous guitar. Much love to Ian and Toby you were Corby’s best and dearest friends and he would love for you to headline a tribute but the final decision of course isn’t mine that will be one for Corby’s parents and Strange Vine to decide.

Dave Gonzales says:

The world lost a great guitarist Monday. My condolences to his family and close friends. I was unfortunate to not see him play live.

David Arthur West says:

At JJ’S BLUES in San Jose, I mixed sound and recorded Corby, Jim, Andy for a majority of their shows there. Corby was astonishing to watch and listen to. He created a singular giant organism with every person and all the instrumentation fused in tune with a frequency of indescribable effect to the 3rd or 4th power—like an interstellar jet-ski—that always ended in a smooth landing. Watching his stout fingers frailing the strings at times would not synch with the resulting webs of layering sounds and rhythms swirling around the room.There was more sound than the sum total of all his fingers could physically produce —by commonly accepted standards. There marks the line between “skilled” and “genius”. The physical mechanics of dedicated training together with a second nature devotion perhaps to his Bodh Gaya beacon could have defined his path which was his alone to understand, but ours to be gifted the ride along side. Sad but grateful for the lift part way.
See you on the other side, Corby, and I won’t be late.

Jean Russell says:

My heart is so hurting for my brother and Gail. Their son and only child, Corby, a true gift.

Nancy Davison - Del Carlo says:

He will be missed, this world will not be as Great without him here, but he must have had plans to Rock the Heavens!!!

I was fortunate to meet Corby when he was in kindergarten, he and my son Daniel grew up together. I enjoyed helping in the class room almost every day at Pine Ridge School. We were all mountain people, “A Mountain Family� and he will be Greatly Missed in them there hills <3

Scott Amberg says:

I love the lights out auditorium story, it sounds so Corby…I’d like to share one: JJ’s San Jose, I was filming Corby playing “the cure”. Someone at the bar had passed out and fell off the stool under the bar (later to be hauled away in an ambulance). The guy at the sound board asked the band to stop playing, Jim pulled out on Bass, slowly Andy stopped on the kit and Corby was still playing, slowly he pulled out of what appeared to be a deep sleep. He looked like he had woken up in a hotel room, wondering where he was. When Corby played, he left the building and his vessel stood there and shredded the guitar. I’ve seen many greats and every time I saw Corby I noted, “he’s the best I’ve ever seen”. Now Corby has truly left his vessel, but his soul lives on in all our hearts. R.I.P. Corby!!!

Tom Sweet says:

I’m Married to Corby’s mom’s cousin.
Being that we live in Montana I never saw him play until he was 17 and did the Jimi Hendrix competition in Seattle Wa. at the DV8.
Corby was one of the last ones to play and I remember thinking “Damn, there is huge talent on this stage, Corby has his work cut out for him to win this thing.”
Corby came out and did his cover of Hear My Train A Comin’.
When he finished I was in awe. I turned to his mom and said “There is no way in hell that he didn’t win this.”
Jimi’s Dad came out and announced the winner. Corby Yates.
That is the memory that I will carry forever.
Jim and Gail, I am so sorry for your your loss.
Tom

I had the pleasure of working with Corby and Jim many times.We became friends and they always gave it 100%. Im sad today. Jim if you read this give me a call. My Sympathy POP

Worked with Corby and his father many times. They always gave 200%. We became good friends. An honor to be mentioned on his Back from Yesterday CD. He was my Lil Brother. I love that kid. Jim get ahold of me. My deepest Sympathy. POP

Ano says:

Dribble,
You are pathetic! What, we arent all allowed to grieve and share our stories with the people who loved Corby?? If you dont like it, Bounce off the site, bro! No one needs to hear that negative passive aggressive comment at this time. We are all hurting in some way or another.

Robert Walsh says:

I will always remember Corby from Sierra High, never got the chance to hang out with him. But his performances at the talent shows were something amazing. In particular I remember one rainy day at lunch when a couple of kids were trying to play just off of the Quad area, (they were being mocked by a bunch of the kids) when Corby walked over to them and asked if he could play with them. It was awesome, everyone stopped the taunting and just stood around in the rain listening.

David Paul Davenport says:

It goes without saying that Corby was a gifted guitarist, probably the best of his generation. Sadly, he also had to battle mental illness, the most misunderstood form of illness in this country. Unlike a physical illness a person suffering from mental illness can’t just take a pill because most meds adversely affect the creative energy associated with the gift. The “dynamic tension” between the need to try to control the illness stiffles the creativity. Like Vincent Van Gogh, Corby fought a good fight, and we have his music to remember his greatness.

Kingbee says:

I had the pleasure of having Corby play from time to time at my jam sessions. He will be missed, and we’re grateful we had him as long as we did. Be good to each other.

Darin mitchell says:

So sad to hear…when he was about 14 or 15 he played in mammoth…id never seen anything like it…not only the sound he could pull out if his guitar but the voice from his mouth…absolutly astonishing…i sat for about 2hrsanother and was speechless at what i had just witnessed….the next day he played a free early show for the kids of the town who cant go to bars…..i talked to him for a while after and i swear when he turned off the amp he turned off the rockstar….such a nice kid…nhe will be missed….i hate to ask cause its not really relevant …but does anyone know what happened

Anon says:

The top of this Article has been updated with what happened.

Roger Carpenter says:

Many of the posts here echo my shock, sadness and sense of loss for Corby, a young man who, although I did not know personally, influenced my life for the positive on many nights by playing some of the most intense, amazing music I’ve ever heard in Fresno, or anywhere else. I discovered Corby through one of his schoolmates, Ryan Bailey, who was my son-in-law. Corby was scheduled to play as the headliner at the 1999 Shaver Lake Blues Festival. Ryan said”you have to see him play, he’s amazing”. I went there skeptical, and left Blown Away!, I saw Corby and his Dad play 13 more shows in the next several years after that. He was, and will always be, my favorite guitarist. RIP my friend.

miki says:

WOW! I did sound for him at many shows when he was just getting started. he was a polite and nice kid and so was his Dad who at most of his gigs and was always intersted in the sound person’s perspective, and what if anything should be done to improve on the live performance. …sad

RUDY PARRIS says:

THANK YOU SO MUCH CORBY FOR PUSHING ME TO BE A BETTER GUITARIST. LOVE YOU BROTHER!

forthecustomer says:

maybe u should have tried to help you *******

frank follette says:

I am 60 years old went through JIMI’S & STEVIE’S passing. Later started hearing about this CORBY YATES yeah right after hearing about him for a few years saw him at JJ’S San Jose. Sitting in the front row with wife (Paula) next to a police officer & his wife (Doug & Onna) .I get a nudge there he is were there were there . Standing in doorway is this kid in green kakis orange T & worn tennis .NO WAY …Four notes later heaven!!!! After that night through the years CORBY JIM GAIL IAN TOBY all became part of our life & family!!!! We flew to IOWA with CORBY took him to see TROWER & JOHNNY WINTER FEB 2008 up front blew him away. Became his driver roadie our payment was CORBY’S music.. Moved to Burnt Ranch close to us.. Corby had jam nights at the local road house saloon ( SIMON Le Gree’s ) witch turned into a ONE MAN ONE GUITAR acoustic show tribute to the BLUES MASTERS.. CORBY & JIM were Quickly part of the community . CORBY met JIMI JEFF & the Gypsy BAND (JEFF plays HENDRIX music ) they jammed together did birthday tributes for HENDRIX . CORBY & JIM moved to Brownsville were they recorded INTO OBLIVION..WE had CORBY IAN & TOBY come back CORBY YATES BAND, STRANGE VINE , JIMI JEFF & the GYPSY, what a show… CORBY was kinda like a son to me I have hole in my heart & soul I’LL miss him & cry every day. We all lost the greatest guitarist to walk the face of the EARTH he also had a HEART GOLD. CORBY had a real rough last couple years ( THE MIND IS A CRAZY THING ) ,rest ashured CORBY is in a better place with JIMI & STEVIE!!!!!!! Peace & Love to JIM & GAIL all CORBY’S friends and fans. PEACE OUT FRANK . PS. LOVE YOU CORBY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jensmagicpen says:

My heart aches for anyone who is feeling sadness as a result of the passing of Corby Yates. Family, Friends,Fans, music lovers,classmates, Bar Owners,
Bartenders, Road Crew, Blues Lovers, my God, the list goes on and on. Honor his mark that he placed on each of us, but respect the cause of his death by gaining knowledge about something that is not only real, but real enough to cause tragedy like this…as in mental illness. Respect Corby and love him now on a whole new level, not just as a kick ass musician, but as a Beautiful human being that created a common bond between us all, because maybe that’s what his music was supposed to do…to create awareness about something that we may never ever have given the time of day, but now have a reason to learn more about in hopes of helping someone we know and love before it’s too late. Corby, the Heavens above are following your lead, so play to your heart’s content. Because NO MUSIC NO LIFE, SO TURN IT UP OR TURN IT OFF!!!! Much love from a friendnamedjen.

Jennifer Hunter says:

Fresno and the world has lost an amazing talent..my condolences to his family and friends.