It would appear that rock and roll music at its purest, is very much a lost art form. Today, rock bands seem more interested in defining their image than defining their own sound. There are very few artists that still focus on delivering an amazing live show. Who work tirelessly to capture that sound on an album, only in an effort to satisfy their own creative hunger. Who love music and enjoy the journey to finding their own sound while paying homage to their heroes that have come before them. Who really connect with their audience and leave them saying “That band was f**king awesome, I want some more!”. Enter Sentimental Gentlemen.
Founding members Joe Howes (lead guitar) and Mackenzie Walas (lead vocals) met at an open mic night at a local tavern in Canada’s northern oil patch of Fort McMurray, Alberta in early 2013. Playing music was an outlet to get away from the busy lifestyle of a thriving boomtown. After playing songs together until they closed the place, it was certain that this was the start of a great musical friendship. Mackenzie had been performing around town and was looking to start a band. Joe had recently moved to town and had yet to meet anyone who shared his passion for rock music and performing.
They were dedicated to forming a band that wrote great songs and could match that quality on stage. Their song writing process reflects the personality of the band. Laid back with a sense of motivated purpose for finding something new yet familiar, while trying not be limited by the influences of other genres…and having a whole lot of fun while doing it. Powerful raspy vocals with multiple harmonies, big guitar solos and heavy drums are the tools they use to find their sound. Bands like the Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon, Big Wreck, but also Stevie Ray Vaughn, ZZ Top, and the Eagles can be heard as influences.
At the very same open mic night, a few months later, they met Handsome Rob (drums) and with the help of some friends, the band released its self-titled debut, a 6-song EP in February of 2014. After recruiting Jeremy Connell (bass), the band’s line-up was complete. They started pounding the pavement, performing at a variety of events in Wood Buffalo, and across Alberta. The band has had the privilege of sharing the stage with The Sheepdogs, The Trews, and Trooper to name a few.
In November 2014, they began recording their new album at Sound Extractor Studios in Edmonton, AB. They wanted to capture the excitement and energy of their live shows, so most tracks were recorded live to retain their on-stage chemistry. "Kicking' Stones" was released as the band's first single and they filmed their first music video in support during the summer of 2015. "The Devil's in the Details" was released on September 26th, 2015.
After a winter of preparation, the band embarked on a cross-country tour on April 3rd, 2016. The 61 date tour lasted 3 months, covered 10 provinces, and gave the band a chance to perform their music in markets all across Canada including performances in everyone's hometown. They were able to share the stage with fellow Albertans and friends in Royal Tusk as well as the iconic Fred Penner where they were even invited to perform with him for a song.
During the band's visit to Newfoundland, extreme wildfires forced the residents of Fort McMurray to evacuate the city for weeks. With their friends and family under forced evacuation and thousands who ended up losing their homes, the band felt the need to help their neighbours back in Alberta. For the remainder of the tour they fundraised thousands of dollars for Red Cross as they made their way back to Alberta. In total the band raised over $10,000 which was matched by both TD Bank and the Alberta Government. Their story was featured by many local news outlets across the country as well as both CBC and CTV.
The band returned to Fort McMurray briefly before making the decision to move to Calgary, Alberta. In September of 2016, Sentimental Gentlemen began working with LCE Music Management. The band is currently writing and working on new music. They plan on going into the studio this winter as they prepare for a 2017 release and tour.