Gordie Tentrees

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Gordie Tentrees


Once a three-time Golden Glove winning boxing champion and youth worker, Gordie Tentrees soon found music and has since turned his life into telling stories and couch-surfing across the world. His next stop: Bendigo.

Hi Gordie, thanks for taking the time to chat with Forte Magazine, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?

Thanks for taking the time to ask. I am home in the Yukon, up here in Northern Canada enjoying some family time before I hit the road again. Up next is your lovely country. I am really excited to return to Australia.

Which you’ll be heading out with Jaxon Haldane for, how did it come about to do something with him?

I met Jaxon years ago… and over the years we became friends. He moved from Canada to Oklahoma USA…and on a tour in his area I asked him if he would join me on stage for a couple of weeks. After that tour I knew something special had happened – it was like 50% of the other half of me finally was playing with me. He is great to travel with and opens the shows with his wonderful songs…I think my favourite part of performing with him is singing together and knowing that every night some unplanned magic could happen.

 We read too that you used to be a boxing champion and youth worker, what role did music play for you in those two past jobs?

I would say they had more to do with playing a role in the music. Developing the empathy required to work with youth helped me see all sides of my songs, the stories behind the songs and in some cases the characters. Boxing helped me to learn to focus, and dedicate myself to learning how to play my instruments (guitar, dobro, harmonica), and learn how to sing and write songs. I had enough discipline in me to realise that if I was starting this late in life, I had to work twice as hard. I tell kids to take any music lessons they can as a kid, because you’re a natural sponge at that age. Leaning as an adult is tough.

You are known for telling people’s stories in your songs, have you always been fascinated with other people’s lives?

For sure. Stories mainly. I was enraptured with them as a kid. My grandma was a published author and poet in Canada, my mother was a writer and editor. Writing was encouraged as a kid, I think because I talked so much – in my case it was strongly encouraged. For me every song has a story – that’s where it starts. The songs I sing and write about are my story, my experiences or moments viewed through my eyes. I have tried to make them up but could never connect to them or get behind a song to share it or perform it unless it resonated with me.

Has there ever been a story you’ve told through music that’s particularly struck you? Or perhaps moments where you couldn’t quite get someone’s story into words?

There are many, and I am naturally attracted to writing about things most people would shy away from.  Three of my best friends died before their time in three separate tragic endings which resulted in three songs about them on different records. I play those songs the least although they are my favourites, and I go right back inside those songs every time I play them – which can be difficult. I think you can use your personal experiences that are unpleasant to share with others in a way that they can relate as well to them. The trick is making them universal, poking fun at yourself, and seeing the light in the dark. Writing songs is my favourite part of what I do.

Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us, do you have any last words of wisdom you’d like to share with our readers?

I’m not wise enough yet to impart wisdom, but I can strongly suggest you catch us live when we come to your town. We promise to do our best to bring you something unlike anything you will have seen down under.

When & Where: Yachandandah Folk Festival, Yachandandah – March 18-21 & Billyroy’s Blues Bar, Bendigo – April 7