Local country singer/guitarist David Zentner, who recently released his second record, will perform at the People’s Choice Festival in Boalsburg on July 14.
Zentner’s new record is titled “Classic Country and Swing,” and the title says it all.
“It is a compilation of cover tunes that I not only enjoy singing but I also picked them due to the players that I had booked for the session,” Zentner said. “The songs are all positive, fun, and simply tunes one can sit back and enjoy listening to. I even put a Frank Sinatra tune and a 1928 Guy Lombardo swing song to round out the album and to whet everyone’s whistle.”
The People’s Choice Festival is nothing new for Zentner, who lives in State College.
“I believe I have played there the last four years in a row,” he said. “It is always a great time down there and it gives an opportunity for the local folks that I know to come and see me. A lot of times I am booked out of the area, and it is just too far for the locals to make it.”
The singer believes that every show is unique, and he tries to be a versatile performer who engages all types of music fans.
“I like to read the crowd and see who’s there and then alter my song choice to create the appropriate atmosphere,” Zentner said. “In this area and also due to the jobs that I play, there are many types of music listeners out there. One cannot classify everybody in a crowd and that is what I excel at — adding versatility to my musical style to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves.”
Zentner’s major musical influences include old school country stars and crooners like Merle Haggard, Johnny Paycheck, Mel Torme, Faron Young and Dean Martin.
“My roots are classic country, but I would classify my sound as a lounge-style singer,” Zentner said. “I enjoy classic country, big band music and American popular song from the 1960s 1970s and 1980s. In other words, I was born 80 years too late!”
Zenter always loved music, but said he almost gave it up in primary school.
“When I was entering the fifth grade, I started playing saxophone and ended up really disliking it,” Zentner said. “Fortunately, I had a great music teacher, who later became my lifelong friend, who encouraged me to start playing the trombone instead of saxophone. That was when music became part of my life. The trombone playing progressed into playing guitar, singing, bass guitar and even a little bit of piano.”
That love of music would further blossom in the late ’80s when Zentner discovered new country artists on television.
“The year was 1988 and I remember we just got cable television,” he said. “My dad was scrolling through the channels and he landed on a station called CMT. Just at that time, the station was counting down to the No. 1 country hit that week. It happened to be ‘All My Ex’s Live in Texas’ by George Strait. I instantly fell in love with the country/western swing sound. That was when I really got serious about playing and singing.”
Music is the favored pasttime for Zentner, and he’d love to be doing it in a bigger way. But, for now, he’s keeping himself grounded.
“I would like to have a little bit larger name out there and who wouldn’t?” he said. “I am a full-time auctioneer and I believe I have found a happy balance between my career and a semi-serious hobby. I am not on any official tour but I have about 10 shows booked this year at assorted fairs and carnivals.”
When he’s not spending his time slinging the six-string, Zentner likes to hang out with his spouse for some active target practice.
“My wife and I really enjoy skeet shooting together,” he said. “The only problem is that she is much better than me.”
Zentner believes anyone looking for an “old school” show should come on out to see him play.
“If anyone is looking for a chance to see what an old-fashioned show used to be like, then come out and see me,” Zentner said. “If you are looking for lights, smoke, fireworks and anything else that takes away from the singing or the music, then you will not enjoy my show.”
IF YOU GO
- What: David Zentner
- When: 3 p.m. July 14
- Where: People’s Choice Festival, Pennsylvania Military Museum, 51 Boal Ave., Boalsburg
- Info: www.peopleschoicefestival.com; www.davidzentnermusic.com