Released for the first time here and in digital stores everywhere, 2004's Music Is Freedom was Chris Genteel's hip-hop folk protest album, recorded in New York & Philadelphia. The album was originally released as an EP in September 2004 to support the 7 city Music is Freedom Tour which featured Genteel, iconic MC Toni Blackman and local artists in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Newark, Manhattan, The Bronx and New Orleans. The tour was aimed at voter registration, community empowerment and youth activism through hip-hop, folk and spoken-word. This deluxe release includes the previously unreleased track "Reason To Care," and live versions of all the songs from the original EP.
Chris Genteel is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer. He was born and raised in New York City. Classically trained in vocal sacred music Genteel became a songwriter and arranger while attending Yale University and playing in and around New Haven, CT. As a near nightly club performer in New York in the early 2000s he made sense of a post-9/11 New York through a sound that bridged the acoustic-style of hip hop artists like Lauryn Hill and K-OS with the folk activism tradition of artists like Dylan and Richie Havens.
Genteel’s 2003 Hiphopfolksinger EP was a staple on lower east side mixtapes, and Genteel was a house musician at Harlem’s Underground Lounge and at Cambridge’s historic Club Passim Campfire series. The 2004 Music is Freedom Tour which Genteel produced and headlined resulted in the Music is Freedom EP and his first performance in New Orleans, where he became a guest artist in the Frenchmen Street clubs and performed at mainstays Tipitina’s and the House of Blues.
In 2006 Chris moved to Ann Arbor, MI where he teamed up with Chuck Mauk (drums), Gregg Leonard (guitar) and Lewis Simpson (bass) to front Chris Genteel & band, a local mainstay until 2010. The 2007 LP 20 Minute Mind was on heavy rotation on local and regional radio for several years. The single “Patiently Waiting” received 10s of thousands of plays as the hold music for Google’s customer service line (where Chris has been a Tech Inclusion champion since 2008). In 2010 Genteel returned to playing shows as a solo artist.
The 2017 LP Goodbye NY is Genteel’s return to recording, featuring a slate of songs chronicling his extended love-affair and breakup with his hometown New York City. The acoustic-driven album features 12 cuts recorded at the Happy Hands Recording Club and was released on Genteel’s label, Gray Area Records.