Updated: May 13
by Joe Mack
TULSA – Native Oklahoman Corey Kent might currently live in Texas, but has his sights set on returning
to the Sooner State full time when the stars align.
In the meantime, back-to-back shows with longtime mentor and friend Ben Kilgore at the Mercury
Lounge bring the 26 year old singer/songwriter back home May 28-29.
“Ben Kilgore is the reason I’m here…and he’s opening up the shows,” Kent reflects. “I should be opening up for him.”
The sincerity of that statement is connected to both the business and creative bond that Kent and
“Because, at different times, we’d both been offered some major label record deals, Ben helped me be
hyper aware of bad contracts, and what to avoid,” Kent says. “My family and friends all thought I was
crazy for walking away from that first major deal – like, ‘you’ve been waiting your whole life for this…’ –
but Ben helped open my eyes up to other possibilities. Now I’ve got a great publishing deal that allows
me to have more control.”
That publishing deal also allows Kent, his wife, and their young family to live closer to their friends and
family in Oklahoma and Texas.
“We do live in Dallas, but after spending years in Nashville we just knew we wanted to be closer to
friends and family. Oklahomans just have healthy priorities – it’s like their heads are screwed on
Meaning Oklahomans know how to work hard and play hard, whereas those in major business and
commerce centers – Nashville, New York, L.A. – work, work some more, then have a side hustle, plus
some offline revenue streams to help cover the electric bill.
“The pandemic has been a great reset button on perspective – we’ve been recording and releasing new
music, already have two singles out, and I’m already seeing folks singing along to the new songs that
have only been out a few weeks. I’m even seeing lyrics tattooed on some fans – crazy!”
The pandemic also helped expand Kent’s horizons – and household head count.
“My wife and I welcomed a new baby into the world in June of 2020, that’s easily been the greatest gift
from this whole situation, to be there to help from the very beginning. And to make up some income I
accepted a job to work with the family paving company, which was a total learning experience, but also
helped me realize how important art and the creative process are to me.”
While “Feels A lot Like This” continues to climb the Texas Music Chart, Kent and company are about to
release another new single mid-May, “What It Doesn’t Do”, which will be a focal point for much of the
remaining Spring 2021 tour.
“Being extremely focused on new music – coming out of what was arguably the worst time to release
new music – is incredibly exciting. I think folks took in a lot of music in 2020, but now we’re just starting
to get back together again and share those songs together in a live setting.”
Kent did release a new album in 2020, From the West, but now these “new” songs (some of which have
been unearthed and given new life) are leading to new opportunities, bigger bills, and more headlining
“We just did some huge shows in Texas with Parker McCollum and Randy Rogers Band, and now we’ve sold out one show (May 28) in Tulsa with Ben and had to add another,” Kent says, recoiling from an obvious well of emotion. “Without him (Kilgore) I truly feel I wouldn’t have the life and opportunities
that I have before me. I’m truly blessed beyond imagination.”
And that, my friends, feels a lot like gratitude.
Tickets are still available to the May 29 Corey Kent and Ben Kilgore show; get yours today at
mercuryloungetulsa.com/shows, and score Corey Kent sights, sounds and swag at coreykentofficial.com.
Joe Mack is the former Editor-in-Chief of Currentland Magazine and Northwest Arkansas Entertainment
Magazine, and is currently a multi-media marketing specialist at Tahlequah Daily Press. He resides with
his wife Pam and their domesticated herd of fur babies on five acres in rural Cherokee County in
Mercury Lounge is an American Dive Bar with a focus on roots music and the communities that form around it, providing a safe space to the music fan, a professional experience to the music fan and a fast drink at a fair price.