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He’s already an underground country music star who’s performed in front of over a million ticket holders as a headliner; now get ready for Bill Gentry’s long-awaited debut album, COUNTRIFIED!
The first single, “I Want What You Want,” launches to radio this month. The song is a rocking celebration of the traditional country life. It is driven by a Duane Allman-inspired slide guitar, yet one of the dominant instruments is a banjo straight out of Earl Scruggs.
Bill Gentry spent months with famed Nashville producer Garth Fundis (Keith Whitley, Trisha Yearwood, Sugarland, Don Williams) sifting through hundreds of songs from Nashville’s top writers. The goal was to find great songs that Bill could believe he’d written, songs that echoed things he’d experienced and believed in.
“Right now is when country music should be most alive,” Gentry says. “Country has always been about the common man, the people hardest hit by this economy, and they’re struggling right now. I want my music to speak to them, in a way that embraces the roots and values of America.”
The dream of being a country music singer is rooted in Bill Gentry’s past. He grew up on a cattle farm in Carrollton, Ga., about 15 miles north of Alan Jackson’s hometown. And knowing that a local kid from Newnan could make it in country music fueled his own aspirations. He put together his band, the 35 Cent Rodeo, in 1997, and picked up a following in Georgia that quickly expanded across the Southeast.
Most aspiring country music singers record an album, then work to build an audience. Bill Gentry did it the old-fashioned way: He built his audience and honed his stagecraft, and then he recorded the album that’s going to make him a star.
Before he left for Nashville last year to record COUNTRIFIED, a sold-out crowd of 5,119 adoring fans gave Gentry a send-off to remember. And he gave them a concert for the ages, opening the show by rappelling over the crowd from the ceiling to the stage.
Purely on word of mouth about his electrifying live concerts, Bill Gentry has developed a regional fan base every bit as fanatical and loyal as the early followers of Bruce Springsteen. In fact, his live show has been described as “Springsteen channeled through Alan Jackson.”
Over the past 6 years, he’s headlined 600+ shows at Wild Bill’s in front of more than 1,000,000 ticket holders. Gentry not only held court for four years at Wild Bill’s in north Atlanta - the largest country music concert hall in America that has hosted concerts including Keith Urban, Little Jimmy Dickens, Rascal Flatts, Chris Ledoux, and Brad Paisley - he also designed and built the facility with the help of his creative team and investors.
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