Singer-songwriter Bob Gentry had all but given up on his music career. After several big starts and equally big stops, Gentry moved from Los Angeles to Palm Springs with the intent of starting fresh. Enter Blue Élan Records co-founder, Kirk Pasich, who stumbled upon Gentry’s music.
Though Gentry had transitioned into another career path, he never stopped writing songs. For him, it was a form of therapy — a place where he could truly express himself — and yet, he always hoped someone else would hear it too.
“I had written a bunch of new songs to do with what I’d been feeling and living the last 10 years,” says Gentry. Pasich had asked if I had any new music so I sent a few demos. Pasich quickly introduced Gentry to Grammy-nominated producer Dave Darling. “The next thing I know, I’m recording a new album,” exclaims Gentry. “During the process, I honestly wasn’t sure what to think, but like so many things in my life, I kept asking myself “Is this really happening? And now, at this stage in my life? Crazy!”
Gentry felt like he was “back on the horse” again.
Aptly titled, his newly recorded EP, Back on the Horse, features first singles, 20 Years to Life and the stirring duet My Mistake which showcase the songwriting depth of Bob Gentry’s fully realized career in music.
Gentry explains the meaning behind 20 Years to Life, “Well, it’s actually a quirky love song, and about commitment. People joke about marriage and relationships being some sort of Life Sentence, but liking someone enough to say, ‘Yes, lock me up, no parole, let me prove it by sticking around, cuff me up, etc…’ is what the song’s all about. I had fun swiping legal terms and trying to be clever. I actually worried that the legal analogies might have been a little over-the-top, but when I started writing it, the song almost wrote itself.”
Second single, My Mistake, is a newly realized version of one of Gentry’s past songs. Re-imagined and re-recorded after the Blue Élan label Christmas event last December when label leader, Kirk Pasich, had the idea to try My Mistake as a duet with Jackie McLean, singer of labelmate, Roan Yellowthorn.
Gentry explains, “I admit, revisiting an old song isn’t always fun [as a songwriter, we’re always wanting to do new things] but in this case, doing it with Jackie made the song feel new again. I think Jackie and I only ran through it about 3 or 4 times and then we jumped in front of the studio mic and got it in 1 and a 1/2 takes. So, it’s actually a Live Recording with no fancy studio trickery. I feel a little “exposed” in the track, but who wouldn’t want to be exposed with Jackie McLean, right?”
A gifted musician from an early age, learning to play both piano and guitar, Gentry honed his musical skills. In his teen years, Gentry found some success with the original line-up of Moisture, a grunge-influenced 90s rock band. The band attracted a dedicated following, and was nominated for Best Rock Band at the Motor City Music Awards. The group disbanded and Gentry found himself relocating to Southern California.
After arriving, Bob recreated Moisture with new members from an ad in The Recycler. Finding more success on the West coast, the band performed on the USA Network and Canada’s MUCH Music Network, before being offered a recording contract by FarmClub, then a label under Jimmy Iovine’s Interscope Records.
“It felt like a scene out of a movie. Six months later, September 11th happened, along with the record industry changing due to things like Napster… everything just sort of vanished,” explains Gentry. “It went away just as fast as it came, but for those months, I was on Cloud 9.”
Now solo, Bob Gentry began writing and performing with Grammy-winning artists including prolific singer-songwriter and poet Rod McKuen, best known for songs such as “Seasons In the Sun,” “If You Go Away,” and the Oscar-nominated “Jean,” as well as David Tyson, writer of the hit “Black Velvet” performed by Alannah Myles. Gentry has also worked with Tony DeFranco of the famous DeFranco Family, James Lee Stanley, as well as a growing list of others. His first solo album was released in 2005 and his song “Never Know” was featured in the popular hit Fox television series Bones in 2006. That same year, Gentry made it to the finals as part of the cast of the NBC show StarTomorrow which featured David Foster as the head judge. His second solo album, Seconds, was released in 2010.
With Back on the Horse, his first EP in 10 years, Gentry knows second chances like this do not come around too often. After giving up on a music career and nestling into a quiet life in Palm Springs, it was the words of Kirk Pasich and Blue Élan that really sold him. “For us, it starts with the music. Good music deserves to be heard, no matter who it’s by, no matter the age, no matter the gender, no matter the faith, no matter the sexual orientation—no matter any of that. Good music by committed artists. That’s what our Blue Élan family is all about.” Bob Gentry’s career is ready to blossom once more.
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