Nashville native Greg Bates is a young country artist following in the old-school traditions of such icons as Alan Jackson, George Strait and Dwight Yoakum. His self-titled debut EP boasts skilled songcraft, down-home vocals and polished, radio-friendly production. Writing or co-writing all five tunes, Bates avoids rebel posturing in favor of songs embracing love, family and the call of the road. The single “Did It For the Girl” shows off his way with an open-hearted love anthem, tossing in a salute to Strait’s 1982 hit “Marina Del Ray” for good measure. Also on the romantic side are “Fill in the Blank” (a teasingly sexy tune that could be this season’s answer to Brad Paisley’s “Ticks”) and “Lost in Caroline” (a ballad celebrating the joys of warm love on a cold night). Bates puts some drive into his country sound with the galloping “Go Time” and offers a sensitive portrait of a younger sibling in “Brothers.” All told, Bates shows considerable maturity and confidence in these tracks, marking him as one of country’s more promising newcomers.