Pyrite and Steel, the new five-track EP from Gentry Blue is a masterclass in solid rock music foundation. Embellished with sultry tones, far-reaching guitar riffs and a depth of musical arrangements, these songs cover a wide spectrum of themes. By the end of Pyrite and Steel, the universal emotions are stronger, and make the listener feel that much more unstoppable. Nashville’s four-member rock outfit Gentry Blues’ canvass is like the Grand Canyon, big enough to fill the obvious Janis Joplin-influences into the same space as modern rock and their own spunk.
The opening track “Cutthroat” starts out with a wicked, crunch guitar intro. I’ve gotten so used to quirky and trendy guitar riffs that switching into a modern, yet vintage-sounding spectacle through me for a loop. The guitar work has a ton of personality happening between the fuzz. The lead vocals are smooth, very Joplin-like. By track two, you get a better hang of it and that you’re listening to something really special. “What Lies On The Other Side” has a general “Hotel California” and Eagles’ vibe. There’s a haze sheen to this song, a mysterious tone. I loved the waw-waw guitar movements and the click of the percussion sticks. I think this song is about rediscovering who you want to be in life, or in a relationship. Maybe it’s a twist on the idea of the grass is always greener on the other side. All I do is carry this ball and chain, lead singer Lydia Gentry (and half of the band’s namesake) sings. Her tenor is quite remarkable – she can move along like Joplin, but has more emotional depth like Amy Lee or Lani Hall. I liked listening to her voice and falling down the rabbit hole of guessing her take on life.
“Familiar Ghosts” and “Origins (Of Your Heartbreak)” keep opening the door wider and wider to Gentry Blue’s arsenal. I loved the laying in these songs. You think it’s going to go one way, and they just keep reaching for more, piling on the soundscapes. You can leave my memory, Gentry sings in “Origins (Of Your Heartbreak)”. This really transported me to a part in my life that is hard to let go, it’s hard to imagine it not being a lugging baggage. I really liked how these songs touched on that theme, and how the music draws the listener closer to Gentry Blue because they can relate. Gentry Blue has a way of making their music completely engrossing, a fullness in the overall sonic blend that is far superior to a computer programming sounds. It comes from their heart – and it shows.
The final track, “Downfall” is an interesting end to a very intriguing EP. This is where I draw the line, Gentry sings. Her voice, at this point, a familiar and loyal friend. She doesn’t miss a beat in conveying the band’s honesty. These songs are an extension of their instrumentation, yes, but they elevate the listening experience two-fold.
Gentry Blue is comprised of Travis Fairley (guitar), Lydia Gentry (vocals and electric violin), Jo Jeffries (bass guitar) and Brendan “Debo” DeBonis (drums). Fans of psychedelic rock, classic rock, modern rock and pop should navigate their way over to listening to Pyrite and Steel. It’s worth the journey.