Live Review: Gentry Blue

Bandcamp Nashville, TN 

Contact: [email protected] 

Web: gentryblue.com 

Players: Lydia Gentry-DeBonis, vocals, violin; Brendan Gentry-DeBonis, guitar; Sean Jannay, bass; Clay Skiles, drums 

Material: Gentry Blue is evidently named after singer Lydia Gentry-DeBonis, but husband-guitarist Brendan Gentry-Debonis probably feels equal ownership over the title. One might assume blues is their focus, but the Belmont University-formed group’s sound remains more psychedelic rock than Southern roadhouse. Playing in a space dubbed The Practice Room, the quartet performed cuts off their EP and forthcoming full-length. “Collide” is about the terrifying notion of universes crashing, while “Tell Me I’m Insane” relates the tale of a female killer. Covers included takes on Franz Ferdinand and Tool. A version of Rush’s “Working Man” finished the set. 

Musicianship: Technical difficulties dampen the shine of any artist; a persistent buzz proved a constant annoyance. Nonetheless, ample zeal makes up for this, and the occasional guitar lick touched the heavens. Lydia Gentry-DeBonis possesses delectable vocal tone, though she’s more comfortable with certain songs over others. Her electric violin adds more than a spark of color. Meanwhile, Jannay’s scrumptious bass lines sometimes feel out of pocket. Drummer Skiles sat in with the band for the first time and did an admirable job working with unfamiliar material. Perhaps it was inevitable that his inexperience would weigh them down. 

Performance: Gentry Blue is a fun collection of players, and the uniting of individuals with disparate influences makes for an intriguing sound. A joie de vivre for creating noise elevates their grade, but a focus on stagecraft would take them further. Reassessing wardrobe choices, for instance, would definitely yield dividends. Leaving random items within camera range remains a minor blunder, but making up for this is their ever-present, blue flame logo, a professional and classy touch. 

Summary: Some acts are pure of spirit, and this is one of them. Gentry Blue’s members cannot be faulted for their realness and belief in the power of music. Still, they must polish their presentational elements to truly be spotlight-ready. Further, they must strive to unearth the sonic glue that fuses their unique strands into a cohesive statement. – Andy Kaufmann