Interview with Teddy Gentry
by Janelle Landauer
When did you and Michael start the actual recording process for the Songs 4 Worship: Country CD?
I guess the actual recording process was started about (I’m guessing) 6 months ago.
Can you explain to all the fans – what it is exactly that you’re in charge of as the producer? And, what is a typical day in the studio like for you?
I think it starts long before the studio. I think really listening to the songs and then trying to match them up with the correct artists that can do the best job. That was really the challenge. Once you got down to going into the studio, it’s pretty easy from then on. You work on arrangements and stuff. Basically, you have great musicians and great artists to work with so it kind of goes pretty fast after that.
What is your favorite part of being in the studio?
I guess working on the harmony parts. That’s what I feel my gift is. So, when we start putting on harmony, that’s something I just love to do. And, really just being part of all the arrangement, and cutting tracks and everything. But, I guess my favorite is putting on the harmony.
Considering that you and Alabama have been releasing inspiration based CDs lately – was it an easy transition when you started working on this worship CD?
I was raised in more traditional gospel but Michael Curtis – I have to give him credit for turning me on to praise and worship and really educating me over the past couple years on praise and worship. I think the whole project was a blessing for me personally – getting to work with a lot of people in the industry who I’m fans of their work like Charlie Daniels, the Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs. They’ve all been around a long time, and have already done a good job. It was a lot of fun to work on and like I said, it was a real blessing to me personally.
What are some of your favorite memories of working in the studio on this worship CD?
Just getting to be there in the studio with people that I’ve grew up in the industry with – like the Oak Ridge Boys and people who I’ve been good friends with for a long time – like Charlie Daniels… just to be in the studio and work with them was a real charge for me and it was a lot of fun.
Do you have a favorite song on this project?
The "Doxology," that is at the very end (The Wilson Sisters – The Wilsons). That song is very personal to me. It meant a lot to me over the past few months and every time I listen to it, it’s inspiring.
Since you also co-wrote one of the songs with Michael and Rebecca Lynn Howard, can you talk more about that whole co-writing experience?
Me and Michael Curtis had been writing a few things together and we got the opportunity one day to write with Rebecca Lynn Howard. For those folks who don’t know Rebecca Lynn, she’s probably one of the bright spots that are on horizon as far as new artists that are coming along. I think she has the vocal ability to sing almost any type of song and do it well. And, she is a great writer too. Me and Mike and her got together one day… I had that melody coming in that morning and it just kind of fell together in a couple hours. It’s a very special song and I think she did a great job on it.
Is worship music an outlet that you may consider working in again whether producing, writing, or singing?
Oh, yes, I think so. I feel like I’ve grown a lot within my spirit, since I’ve got to work on this project. It’s something that I definitely will be supporting and trying to be more involved in.
Where do you find the ideas & inspirations when writing songs?
Sometimes it’s from different sources. I think the melody is the first thing that comes to me. And, that’s such the easy part. I’ve had to work for a lot of years to learn how to write the lyrics.
Do you have a favorite song that you’ve written overall?
A song called “One More Shot” – which is one of the Alabama songs that I wrote. That’s one of my favorite songs.
What has been the key to your longevity in the music business so far?
Just trying to stay in touch with reality and not forget what my reason to love was – and that is music itself and songwriting.
How do you feel you’ve changed the most throughout the years while being involved in music?
I don’t know, maybe I just got a deeper appreciation for quality… and for quality people.
Your work with Alabama was nothing short of amazing. Are there times when you look back at all the success that you’ve had and just stop and think wow?
Yeah, of course. We were very fortunate and very blessed and worked very hard at it. I look back on it with a great deal of pride. It’s like the "American Dream" that very few people get to realize.
What do you still hope to accomplish with your music career?
Well, just to keep doing my best... And, try to follow what God wants me to do with my life.
I know that you and Michael (Curtis) also worked on Collin Raye’s new “Selected Hits” CD… How would you sum up that whole experience? Do you have any favorite songs from that project?
The song, called “Quitters” is one of my favorite songs. I’ve been kind of holding that song in my case for over two years. And, to finally get the opportunity to work with Collin – he’s one of the great voices (male voices) in country music. And, it was really a lot of fun to work on and I think he did an incredible job on that song. That’s one of my favorite songs.
Do you have any other new projects that you’re currently working on that you’d like to tell us more about?
I’m constantly writing and producing… We’re in the studio with a band called Emerson Drive. I got to work with them on their last album. We’re going into production in the next couple days and we start recording the middle of the month. So, that’s the first thing and then the end of the month, we’re working with a couple of new artists to cut some things on them. Just having fun and trying to pursue the good music.
What advice would you give to those who plan to get into the music business?
You have to follow your heart. And be honest with yourself on a daily basis. And also, know where you’re heading and what your plans are. I have no regrets. If it’s something you feel like you have to do, then by all means you should try and do it.
Finally, is there anything you’d like to say to all your fans and all our readers?
Yes – thanks for all the great memories and the opportunity to do what I love doing most – and a good part of that is the music.