Bob Gentry.

Bob Gentry is not new to music, nor is he new to the Coachella Valley. However, he is a newcomer to the local music scene.

The country-pop singer/songwriter spent time in the ’90s rocking with Moisture, before going solo in the 2000s. After spending most of the 2010s out of the music biz, he started over just before the insanity of 2020 arrived. EP Back on the Horse and album Fortune Favors kickstarted this new era of his career, and his mix of Beatles-esque vocal lines with poppy country has been a big hit—especially among our readers, who voted Bob Gentry as the Best Local Musician.

“You’re kidding,” Gentry said after we told him the news during a recent phone interview. “I mean, I was shocked when they told me I got nominated. I don’t even know what to say. The last award I think I won was in 2006, an L.A. Music Award. It’s very, very unexpected, and very cool—and to whoever voted for me, that’s so awesome.”

Gentry explained why such recognition, to him, is “the biggest reward of all.”

“These days, there’s not much money in music, with streaming music and things like that, so the biggest reward to me is when someone actually listens to the stuff, comments on it, says something about it, likes it and tells someone about it,” Gentry said. “… It’s so exciting and surprising anytime something good like this happens. I’m still kind of pinching myself in a way, because, after not doing music for 10 years—at least professionally, or even semi-professionally—now to do it again, and to suddenly have people kind of seem to care about it, it’s very cool. It’s awesome.”

When we spoke to Gentry in October 2020, just before the release of Back on the Horse, he talked about how he moved to Palm Springs intending to be done with music. He started taking photos—building a successful real-estate photography business—and was content with music being in the past. However, that began to change when he received a Facebook message from Kirk Pasich, the co-founder of Blue Elan records.

The rest, as they say, is history. Gentry’s been working hard to promote Back on the Horse and Fortune Favors as best he can through the pandemic.

“I’ve done five videos for the album already, and they were really low-budget,” Gentry said. “It was just me and a friend of mine quickly doing stuff around the house, or on the horses. It was nothing major. These days, you can pretty much do a cheapy video just to have people watch something. It’s crazy, because people really want to watch music. If you have a video for something, the odds of them actually listening to the song increase a million percent.”

The newest music video, for his song “That Life,” premiered on Nov. 11.

“I have a friend in real estate who’s been wanting to shift gears a little bit, and I said, ‘Would you want to do a video for me?’” Gentry said. “He took his knowledge from real estate and did a much-higher-budget video than my previous ones. We found a place on Airbnb, made sure that it was OK with the hosts first, and just filmed the song on location with the band. I’m happy with it.

“Everyone always says it’s their favorite track on the album, but it really is my favorite track, because it’s about giving up on music and coming back. … It’s about giving up on that life, which was the music life and the identity that I had. Here I am coming back to it, although when I wrote the song, I didn’t know I was going to come back to it. It’s a really personal song.”

Gentry is now moving on to the next phase of his third act—performing live.

“I’ve played live (recently), but only on television things,” Gentry said. “I did one called Oasis in the Desert. It’s a TV show where we went out in Joshua Tree along with a band and a couple of other artists on the label, and we filmed it. This was right at the height of COVID, before the vaccines, so we needed a lot of COVID tests. The other concert I did was a Rusty Young tribute concert, who was the lead singer of the band Poco. I did one of his songs as a tribute, because he passed away. They flew in all these people, and we did a Poco tribute DVD that’s coming out.

“As far as shows, I need shows. I have a band now. I’m working with some guys here in town, and we’re doing our weekly rehearsals. I’ve been out, and I know what kind of bands play in certain places, but I’m not sure where I fit. I don’t know whether I need to go through booking agents or just call people up—but I’m at that point where I’m ready for that.”

He’s so ready to perform, in fact, that he’s trying to slow down his efforts to write new music.

“I still always write, but I’m kind of waiting for the next stuff to come out, because I don’t want to overdo it,” Gentry said. “I don’t want to get sick of it. The last album took a year and a half to get released due to pandemic stuff, so I had like a year and a half of listening to these same songs over and over, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, man, I’m so tired of my own stuff.’ I’m still writing, but I think right now, I need to get out there and play, and perform the album and push that.

“I really want to see what people react to live. When you record something, it’s way different than performing it. Sometimes, you’ve got the best recording in the world, but when you play it live, you don’t get the same feedback, and vice versa. I’m really anxious about that.”

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Matt King

Matt King is a freelance writer for the Coachella Valley Independent. A creative at heart, his love for music thrust him into the world of journalism at 17 years old, and he hasn't looked back. Before...

3 replies on “Pinching Himself: Best Local Musician Winner Bob Gentry Looks forward to the Next Phase of his Career’s Third Act: Performing in Front of Crowds”

  1. Such a great article! Bob Gentry is such a fantastic singer/songwriter/musician. He was certainly deserving of the number one spot for best local musician in the valley. All of his songs are so meaningful, beautiful and relatable. I have his albums and play them all the time. I wish him all the success in the world going forward. 🎼❤️

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