WHILE WORKING AS A CIVIL LITIGATION
ATTORNEY, ATLANTA BASED SOUTHERN ROCKER
HOLLY GENTRY KNEW SHE WAS CAPABLE OF
‘SO MUCH MORE’—AND SHE’S HERE TO CHRONICLE
THE JOURNEY OF HER LIFE ON HER HARD HITTING
FULL LENGTH INDIE DEBUT
Growing up in small town South Georgia, there was nothing off limits musically for aspiring “rocker chick” Holly Gentry. She heard and loved it all—country music, the Allman Brothers, 80s rock/new wave, funk, gospel and church songs and those indie college radio sounds coming from nearby Florida State. The multi-talented singer songwriter, whose vibe is tinged with pop, blues, country and Southern Rock, kept it all bottled in for years as she took the straight road, went to law school at the University of Georgia and became a successful civil litigation attorney doing medical malpractice defense. Fortunately for those who love great singers and songwriters with relevant and clever things to say, she knew all along that she was capable of So Much More—the name of Gentry’s multi-faceted full length debut.
Gentry loves the phrase, “When the student is ready, the master will appear,” and for her that master was Rhetta Butler, a renowned Atlanta based vocal coach who has been the singer’s most profound musical influence and mentor since Gentry first started taking vocal lessons from her in 2002. After working with her for so many years Gentry considers Butler--who has taught in NYC and Nashville and is also a songwriter and recording artist who has been with Atlantic and Warner Bros. Records—one of Atlanta’s “best kept secrets.” But Butler has guided the careers of many other talented artists, including guitarist Brian Molin, who makes his debut as a producer with So Much More. Also on board helping shape the sound of Gentry’s musical vision is Grammy winning engineer Don McCollister, who has worked with numerous platinum selling artists, including Sister Hazel, Indigo Girls, Third Day, Shawn Mullins and Caedmon’s Call.
“When I first started working with Rhetta, my goal was simply to have someone to teach me how to sing better and keep my music alive,” says Gentry, who received a vocal scholarship to Wake Forest University, where she minored in music. “She encouraged me to start writing and when she felt my material was getting to a professional level, she introduced me to Brian. During that time, most of the songs I wrote came from either past experiences, nostalgia for other times in my life and how life was progressing at that time. In the years since, I got married and now have two children, ages 4 (Charlotte) and Jay (9 months), and those experiences deepened me and gave me new things to write about.”
The opening track, the high energy pop/rocker “Rockin’ On The Inside,” cuts to the core of motherhood in a way millions of new moms can relate to; it’s about the difficulty in making the transition from a full time “go go go” lifestyle to being at home with a “high needs” baby all day. Balancing that is the romantic blues-rock driven ballad “Simple Things,” which Gentry wrote as a wedding gift for her husband, “who was sweet enough to let me use his song on the album.” Gentry’s gift for clever lyrics is on full display on another bluesy midtempo tune, in which she accuses an old college boyfriend of selling out “faster than a Justin Timberlake show” for the choices he made in his life. Gentry complements her seven infectious original tunes with three unique cover choices: “Ain’t No Way To Do” (by country blues singer Rory Block), “Every Time You Go Away” (the Daryl Hall song popularized by 80s singer Paul Young) and the early Carole King classic “Child of Mine.”
“The songs I recorded on So Much More reflect personal stories and recollections, which surfaced through my transition from young woman, to professional, wife and mother,” says Gentry. “I don't write songs about cheating spouses or going out all night because that isn't my reality. Most of my songs are about small moments, tiny realizations that in thought become much bigger and cinematic. I have very detailed visions and stories surrounding each of my songs. When I write, I create a film in my mind's eye, and I want to convey that film as fully as possible with sights, sounds, touch, smell and emotion. Brian had a good idea of what I wanted and helped me tweak the arrangements. He put together a great group of musicians, and despite having to work in recording sessions with outside work and my family life, we kept a strong musical thread going. It’s a musicians’ album, very real and authentic as opposed to being slick and overproduced.”