About Bryant Kentrow
It is the rare songwriter today who pens lyrics that reflect their own authentic experiences, and that express a vulnerability that is at once deeply personal — and wholly relatable. But that’s the approach of singer and songwriter Bryant Kentrow. While Kentrow places his music within the boundaries of the country genre, he prefers the ill-defined and overly broad label “alt-country” — the “alt” a reflection of his breaks with tradition in choosing the subject matter for his songs.
Kentrow’s first album, Crossroads, offers songs that are a testament to life’s evolving twists and turns, detours, side journeys, and the impossibility of getting from Point A to Point B in a straight line. From life and love, to anger and loss, the album provides the listener with a chance to connect, to ponder, and to reflect on life itself.
“I find myself frequently asking the question, ‘Where do I go from here?’ Life often seems to leave you at a crossroad, providing a choice of the way forward. Choosing isn’t always easy,” Kentrow says. “That was the accidental premise of the album. The songs I’d written; they were connected by that theme, that life sometimes delivers a surprise, catching you off-guard, leaving you uncertain how to move forward. It was exploring these ideas in song that brought Crossroads to life.”
Kentrow produced the album is his own home studio, recording and layering the tracks one by one over the course of two years. Without a formal band, he had to get creative while attempting to create the country sound he wanted, leveraging other musicians for some parts, while playing others himself. Driving the entire project alone, from lyrics to vocals to performance to production, Crossroads is a true reflection of his own musical vision, as well as his life experience.
That experience was centered in the heart of the western United States, at the gateway to the majestic Rocky Mountains, near Denver, Colorado where Kentrow came of age. But while country music and Colorado may go together hand-in-hand, he didn’t immediately embrace the genre. With a love of electronic music, he DJ’ed and dabbled in electronic music production in the mid-2000s — while learning jazz piano, and playing folk guitar. Ultimately, it was the guitar that served as the springboard.
After having written songs for years, Kentrow got serious around 2010, initially aiming to express his songs in various electronic music styles. “It just didn’t work,” Kentrow explains. “I kept hearing these songs acoustically in my head. I had to figure out how to make that happen.”
It didn’t happen quickly, but Kentrow released his first song, I’ve Been Thinking About You (I Wanna Be Free) in 2016, in a style that blends country, folk, and singer/songwriter styles into a cohesive whole that wraps around his heartfelt, raw, and emotion-driven words. Following-up the release with three more singles on the same small, indie label, those first songs set the stage for what would ultimately become his first album.
“It was a long time coming,” Kentrow concedes. “I found it much harder than I expected to choose which songs to put (or not put) on the album. I ended-up cutting two of the songs I’d recorded for it — they just weren’t good enough — and writing and recording a new song at the 11th hour.”
“In the end,” he says, “the album is a reflection of who I am, and the journey that has been my life to-date. I can’t wait for the next chapter.”
With the album project a wrap, Kentrow’s already working on new material, so it seems that the next chapter will be revealed soon enough.