Biography

Photo by Aida Daay

Photo by Aida Daay

Born in Bemidji, Minnesota and named by his parents after a hitchhiker, Gentry spent his early years traveling in a Volkswagen van.  When he was 5 years old, the family moved to a “hippie” farm in the country outside St. Joseph, Minnesota. He grew up there with his dad, a Vietnam veteran and prison guard, and mom, a counter culture activist and sexual assault counselor.  His brother, filmmaker Kaleb Bronson, was born when Gentry was 7 years old.

He spontaneously began playing piano when he was 4 years old, and began studying officially when he was 7.  He started studying with instructor Marilyn Kiffmeyer at age 9, and won 5 state-wide Minnesota Music Teachers Association awards before turning 16.  Those awards gave him the opportunity to perform in front of several thousand people early in his life.

As a teen, he became the lead singer of an alternative and punk garage band.  One of the band’s first shows was in his family’s backyard.  The landlord showed up during the party and evicted Gentry and his family.  As a result, the band called themselves The Eviction Committee.

Gentry left a week after he turned 18, working, studying and traveling his way through Oregon, Alaska and the Florida Keys.  He moved to Seattle in 1991, just as that early 1990’s music scene that included bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam was exploding.  While bartending at the Off Ramp Club, he opened for bands as a punk poet, fronted the band Buried Child, and composed new music for festivals such as The Withered Wall and the Goddess Dance.

In 1994, Gentry relocated to San Francisco playing in the avant garde jazz group The Partial Orchestra and continued doing performance art and poetry throughout the Bay Area.  He moved to Prague in 1995 and got involved with the European music and art scene. He was an Acid Jazz, Trip Hop, Dub and Drum ‘n’ Bass DJ at the Roxy Klub in Prague, traveled to Berlin to DJ, was a student at Karlova Universita, and was also a marketing and advertising manager for the art and literature magazine Yazzyk.

Gentry_pianohands

Photo by Aida Daay

He returned to San Francisco in 1996, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and International Studies from the New College of California.  In June 1996, he took his first multi-media job at CitySearch.  From 1997 to 2001, Gentry’s skills as a multi-media producer, project and program manager, enabled him to work as an independent contractor for IBM, Bank Of America, PG&E Energy Services and Wells Fargo.

Working for corporations during the day, Gentry wrote songs at night, and in 2000 and 2001, he won 3 Northern California Songwriters Association awards.

He formed the band the Night Watchmen in 2001 and their debut EP Illumination was released late that year. The dark, cabaret-styled Lost In California followed in 2003 establishing the band with a small cult of international fans.  During this time, he also worked as Musical Director for Alchemia, a non-profit art, dance and music program for disabled adults.

During the Night Watchmen, Gentry returned to his musical roots as a classical pianist and launched his solo career with an instrumental piano record of original compositions called Tranquillo in 2004.  Later that year, he released a stripped down vocal and piano acoustic record of songs called Home.

Night Watchmen bassist and good friend, John Hudy, committed suicide in 2004, and Gentry reinvented the band.  They released the jazz-infused Rain Come Down in 2005, showcasing his heart-on-your-sleeve songwriting.  During that time, he also worked for streaming media company PanaStream doing consulting work for clients that included Sun Microsystems, Nokia Innovent and the State Of California.

Disbanding the Night Watchmen in 2006, Gentry released an ambient, instrumental album recorded in New Mexico with Dave Hoover called Santa Fe Sky. Two months later, he released No War, a record of 14 songs divided into a three-part concept album. The piano-based songs backed by an energy-packed band received widespread airplay online, in Europe and on U.S. Triple A and college radio stations. On the strength of these new albums, Gentry spent 2006 through 2008 touring throughout the U.S. and Europe.

In October 2008, he released the single Avond, an English adaptation of the classic Dutch song written by Boudewijn de Groot & Lennaert Nijgh.  Recorded as a duet with Jesse Brewster, the song received airplay throughout The Netherlands. Gentry was featured for a month on NL Radio 2, and he appeared live on the TV show ATV5 in Amsterdam.

Photo by Aida Daay

Photo by Aida Daay

In December 2009, Gentry released the Gentry Bronson EP, which moved him into new musical territory as an artist and storyteller. He debuted the album during his Graveyard Fever tour of Europe that year.

The video for Gentry’s song Wild Women, directed by Paul O’Bryan, premiered in February 2011 in San Francisco. Then, Gentry embarked on the Lost & Found Tour in March, his 5th European tour. During this tour, Dutch shock jock Giel Beelen played Gentry’s English adaptation of Tröckener Kecks’ Ik Denk Nooit Meer Aan Jou on NL Radio 3.

Gentry returned to San Francisco and spent the rest of 2011 performing a series of concerts with the Gentry Bronson Band. The band shared bills with Big Brother & The Holding Company (Janis Joplin’s original band), It’s A Beautiful Day, Barry “The Fish” Melton” (of Country Joe & The Fish), Commander Cody, and ended the year opening for one of Gentry’s heroes, Ray Manzarek (of The Doors) with The Manzarek Rogers Band.

Two other 2011 concert highlights included a performance at an Anti-War Rally hosted by California Congresswoman, Lynn Woolsey, and later at the WordUp! literacy and learning festival with guest speaker and author Anne Lamott.

In 2011, Gentry was also contacted by John Brown, an artist from the VH1 Reality show Ego Trip’s The (White) Rapper Show. He was the featured vocalist on John Brown’s single No Games, released that October on the Burbs Life LP.

During recording sessions in 2011, Gentry finished recording his Within A Sigh and A Curse (Dutch Pop Classics In English, Volume 1) record.  The record featured Gentry and Sacco Koster’s English adaptations of songs by Dutch artists Maarten van Roozendaal, Tröckener Kecks, Henk Westbroek and Van Dik Hout. It was released in February 2012.

Gentry completed his 6th European tour in March 2012 supporting the Within A Sigh and A Curse record.  During the tour, he spent 2 days on the streets of Amsterdam with John Brown and director Bram de Hollander filming a video for the song No Games.  The video was released in July that year.

After returning to San Francisco, Gentry was honored to sing the U.S. National Anthem at a Major League Baseball game between the Oakland A’s and Texas Rangers at Oakland Coliseum.

Photo by Aida Daay

Photo by Aida Daay

Gentry spent the remainder of 2012 through the first half of 2013 working on his 11th record HUMAN.  Fans showed their support for the record by crowd-funding a successful Kickstarter campaign. HUMAN was released in May 2013.

Gentry and Dave Hoover’s song Santa Fe Sky, the title song from the Santa Fe Sky album, was placed in the indie feature film Roxie in the Summer of 2013.  The film won the Best Feature prize at the Bushwick Fim Festival in Brooklyn, New York in October 2013, and it made its West Coast debut at the Sonoma International Film Festival in April 2014.

In early 2014, Gentry performed solo in the Riviera Maya region of Mexico, and filmmaker Kevin Shipman captured one of these performances releasing a live video that year.

Gentry returned to Europe for his 2014 HUMAN Summer Tour.  His 7th tour in Europe included 18 concerts and appearances throughout The Netherlands and Belgium.

Gentry formed his own Media & Creative Consulting company in late 2014.  He now works with clients that include musicians, authors, small businesses, innovators, progressive organizations and people changing the world in a positive way.

His current clients include international child advocate, visionary & educator Patty Wetterling; national recording & voiceover artist Marsha Bartenetti; organic, hemp-based, pain relief company Savvy FairSing Out Of Darkness suicide prevention-through-music founder and wellness writer Julie Mayhew; and energy medicine and alternative healer Shaman Jean.

Valentina, who sang on Gentry’s HUMAN album, plans to release her new Nymphya project in 2017 with several songs’ lyrics written by Gentry especially for the project.

Gentry is also currently working on two writing projects.  The first is a book collaboration with co-author and therapist, Laurel Phillips, titled Your Hero’s Journey: A Guide for Becoming the Hero of Your Own Life. Iis a personal transformation book combining mythology, anthropology and psychology, which is written in 3 parts.  This book begins with an overview of 5 well known scholars, their ideas and how these are woven into a unique method called Your Hero’s Journey. Included are Joseph Campbell’s work in mythology, Victor Turner and Arnold van Gennep’s studies on rites of passage, and Michael White and David Epston’s Narrative Therapy principles and practices. In part 2, Gentry goes through the 5 stages of the Hero’s Journey as developed with Laurel for the first time and becomes a model for readers in the style of a self-help memoir. Part 3 is a guidebook for readers to take their own journeys to overcome any problem through visualizing themselves as the mythological hero of their own lives.

His second writing project began as a series of Grasshopperisms that he released in 21 blogs on his tumblr and other social media platforms. After he received a lot of positive feedback from readers, he began to turn the blogs into a more in-depth book, which is currently titled The Fiddling Grasshopper: How To Determine Your Goals, Discover Your Purpose and Be Valued For Living Your Dreams.  In the future, he intends it to be an inspirational guide for people to determine their dreams, discover their purpose, make that dream a reality and then be valued for whatever creative skill, talent or service they offer the world.

After a 2-year break from performing, Gentry did a series of small concerts on Mexico’s Mayan Riviera again in the winter of 2017 and began to consider a new instrumental piano album, but there’s been nothing further on that…yet.

Contact Gentry for media and creative consultation by email at gentrybronson@gmail.com.