Darin Gentry feels that traditional music and environmental custodianship are closely related, as both are central to the survival of a region’s heritage. Gentry’s native region is western North Carolina, and the twenty-five-year-old, a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Asheville with a degree in environmental policy and management, is an oldtime banjo and fiddle player.
Gentry was born and reared in Brevard, and his parents and the earlier generations of his family are from Ashe and Watauga Counties. He owns and plays his great-great-grandfather’s banjo. Both of his grandmothers were musicians as well.
Gentry’s first banjo teacher was Lo Gordon, the Brevard banjo player and luthier. He has also learned a great deal from legendary West Virginia banjo player Dwight Diller, who has written that Gentry is “in my opinion one of the best under-thirty clawhammer banjo players today.” The two have recorded together, and Gentry’s banjo playing can be heard on Diller’s upcoming fiddle album.
Darin Gentry is available for concerts with his bands or as a solo performer. He will play music for weddings and other events, and is particularly interested in performing and teaching in schools.