On today’s podcast, we’re going to go back to the late 1980s. There was a band on Milk & Honey Records made up of two guys from Kentucky. Marvin and Gentry started playing music together as High School students and have been making music together ever since. But their career really took off when they became friends with Dan Peek the lead singer of the 70’s folk-rock group America. In this episode, we are going to talk about their work with Dan as well as how God has brought them through divorce, depression, and the death of a family member.
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 1980s. 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.
Marvin & Gentry plied their songwriting craft with live performances in college auditoriums across the country in the ’80s where the duo found acceptance of the Marvin & Gentry melodious style and spirit-filled message to wider audiences. It was the discovery by Dan Peek of the band, AMERICA, that would lead to a collaboration of the duo’s next four recordings and the formation of the Christian folk-rock band, PEACE. Peek, who had a string of hits with AMERICA, found in Marvin & Gentry a kindred spirit and recorded two of their songs on his solo record titled Crossover. The hit song "I Will Not Be Silent" went on to make Peek’s Greatest Hits. Soon after, Marvin & Gentry released their first recording, Safe Harbour on Milk and Honey Records in 1987. With Safe Harbour, they were able to land their first hit in the Contemporary Christian charts with their song "Cowboy Stories." As one critic wrote in Bookstore Journal after the release, “Safe Harbour bears an uncanny resemblance to the musical styles popular 20 years ago, but such timeless music should appeal to listeners of all ages.”
In 1989, Dan Peek, along with Marvin & Gentry, produced the duo’s second studio effort, Light of the World. The collaboration continued for another six years as Peek, on his new label, 7 Mile Records, releases a trilogy of recordings by PEACE, the band formerly known as Marvin & Gentry: Stronger Than You Know (1994), Peace (1997), and the critically-acclaimed Under the Mercy (2000). The trio of recordings stands as a great synergy of the talents of Peek, Marvin, and Gentry and combines the fresh, refined lyrics of Marvin & Gentry but with recollections of the soft rock and pop sound of Peek’s AMERICA. The three recordings are an incredible contribution to the music of the ’90s, a decade where much of the music is considered less than positive.
Steve Curtsinger (n.d.) Marvin & Gentry. In Marvin & Gentry. Retrieved 4-Sept-2021. From https://marvinandgentry.com/bio