Nestled among the snow covered pines, GB Gents hunker down. Audio mics and laptops are set about the modern, spacious Lake Tahoe living room a stone’s throw from the lake. Sleeping bags and mattresses double as baffles, producer Dave Benson intent on getting the best sound out of the room, the acoustic guitars, the cajon. The project is NORTH, GB Gents' ambitious second album, a combination of live and studio recordings recorded January 2020.
Les Bloch, singer, percussionist/ guitarist and frequent contributor to KQED Perspectives, puts it this way:
“My sweet spot is poetry, flash fiction, short form, 2 minute introspection as on KQED and songs, songs, songs--especially with a strong melody and message. It’s all about communicating a point of view. I love to play guitar, but I come from a percussion background and the rhythm has to move me. Greg and I write and play our own music inspired by the music we love—artists who move us, like Bob Schneider, Peter Gabriel, Adelle and Classic Motown. All this has been absorbed into our souls and what comes out is our own brand of original rock, R & B, Oakland funk--we even sneak in some jazz."
Greg Kennedy, guitar virtuoso, vocalist and songwriter puts it like this: “I like well-built songs, their revelation, songs with good, in-your-bones grooves and impressive melodies. I'm very cognizant of the tone of my instrument and all the sounds emanating from the stage--I'm a sound geek--so my guitar, vocals and Les' percussion all need to be finely attended to and balanced as if one instrument. I like the music and the words to tell a story in a new way--and that's why I love Les' lyrics. I like emotion mixed with humor and fire. I’m influenced by artists like Bob Schneider and Robben Ford. I can listen to a sweet ballad or Godzilla smashing downtown Tokyo. As long as the sounds move me, I’m in.”
“I’m excited about this album,” Les says. “I can get inside these songs, I can feel them and I know it’s a good sign.” Greg smiles, tweaks his guitar. “Indeed,” he says. “I can feel them in my bones.”
Dave looks up from the laptop. Snow falls in slow motion outside the oversize windows. “The only thing I can't mix in is emotion. Ready to roll?”
Greg smiles again and starts a harmonic articulation. Les begins a palm thump on cajon. The sounds of GB Gents rise like heat to the massive beams of the vaulted ceiling. Lake Tahoe is filled with the feeling of NORTH.