A new way for "America' inspired duo

Marvin & Gentry, an award-winning Christian Contemporary group, will perform Oct. 10 at New Way Victory Church on U.S. 51 in Hernando.

Brian Gentry is bringing the gospel message to the Mid-South in his own smooth, melodic way, some might even say a "new way" for the singer who collaborated with original "America" group member Dan Peek for many years.

New Way Church in Hernando, a small but growing church in the Mid-South will play host to one of the bigger folk-gospel duos in Christian Contemporary music as "Marvin and Gentry" will proclaim the gospel in song at New Way Church in Hernando on Oct. 10.

The concert, billed as "An Acoustic Evening with Marvin and Gentry" is set for 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6 p.m. at the church, located at 1471 U.S. Hwy. 51 South in Hernando.

The duo "Marvin and Gentry" recorded and performed under a long association with former 1970s supergroup "America" member Dan Peek as the group "PEACE."

The same rich harmonies and smooth vocals associated with "America," which topped the charts with such Top 40 hits as "Horse With No Name" and "Sister Golden Hair," accompany Christian Contemporary hits sung by the duo as "Marvin and Gentry."

Influenced by such great songwriters as Simon & Garfunkel, Lennon and McCartney, Crosby Stills Nash and certainly Young, the duo of Ken Marvin and Brian Gentry, both from Kentucky, have been writing and recording together since the late 1980’s. While the vocal harmonies and performance style of the duo can be traced to these and other great songsmiths of that era, it is the Christian market where the two realized early commercial success.

Influences of Peek and "America" still echo in the lyrics and melodies of their songs.

"They (America) had an amazing career and sold millions of records in their 40-plus career," said Gentry, who had just recently arrived back in his home base of Nashville after a concert in California.

Four years after his good friend and musical collaborator Dan Peek passed away, Gentry and his musical partner Ken Marvin still tour in their original duo format.

"It was a huge loss for me," Gentry said of Peek's untimely death. "Dan and I were really good friends and he was my mentor and collaborator."

The contemporary Christian music scene has evolved even further since Peek's death.

"The Christian music industry is now huge," said Gentry. "What is unique is that Dan was really one of the pioneers of Christian contemporary music. When he left America, he signed on with Land of the Lions, which was one of the labels under Pat Boone of all people."

There were other acts gaining traction at that time such as cross-over artists like BJ Thomas and early Christian artist Amy Grant.

"The industry is light years ahead of when we first started," Gentry said.

Yet, it's the pared-down acoustic setting that suits Marvin and Gentry best.

"Whether we are playing for people in a tiny coffee house in Green Bay, Wisconsin or a big church such as Willow Creek Church in Chicago, people dig what we do," Gentry said. "We get comparisons to Crosby, Stills Nash and Young and of course, America. Even Simon & Garfunkel. We do find that people of all ages enjoy our music."

For more information please call 901-361-3973.

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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