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Local musician Chandra has been rocking her way across Salt Lake's music scene for over a decade. Not one to shy away from expressing her opinion through a gritty voice dripping with soul, she has performed as the frontwoman for many musical projects. In October 2015 after taking some time for personal reflection she reunited with guitarist Jesse Kyle Long and drummer Steven Butler.
"We started jamming again and needed a bass player," Chandra said in a band phone interview with the Tribune. "Steve called Sam [Sumpter] and it was an instant connection. We started it from there."
Two months later, they were officially a band.
"I wanted to exploit the fact that I am a redhead and these guys are almost gentlemen," Chandra joked of the foursome's Ginger and the Gents moniker.
The group has spent the last year building a repertoire of songs that will make up their first full-length album set for release later this year. Ginger and the Gents have certainly kept busy, often playing multiple shows a month around Utah and in Idaho and Wyoming.
They are slated to play next Friday at Funk 'n Dive in Ogden with Melody & The Breakups.
"We play dirty rock 'n' roll with a twist of heavy blues," Chandra said. "We like to mix it up and push the boundaries of the genre."
Like previous musical collaborations that Chandra has fronted, Ginger and the Gents make music in an organic process that sees her writing the lyrics. Unlike past projects, however, Chandra has elected to keep some of her personal and political opinions off the stage.
"In projects that I have been a part of and created in the past, I was a little more blatantly charged and in-your-face with what I was thinking about," she said. "These days, with how I have grown a little wiser, I think [our music is] more accessible because we don't force anything on anyone."
Except maybe a smile.
"I tackle everything with humor. We want people to smile, be happy and have fun," Sumpter said.
The band members said their music aims to offer an escape from some of the more jarring realities of life. Though Chandra and her bandmates certainly have their opinions surrounding trending national topics, they make their music with an open-minded approach.
"Between the four of us, we can nonverbally communicate about how we feel about any sort of political atmosphere going on at the time," Butler said. "We all have really open minds and accept each other's views. None of us have all the answers."
While Ginger and the Gents aren't looking to solve world problems, they do seek to provide an outlet for others whose souls are in need of some music therapy.
"It's an escape," Chandra suggested, "but it's more that if we can get together and immerse ourselves in the music, we forget about whatever traumas we might be dealing with at the time."
Chandra speaks from experience. Since the formation of Ginger and the Gents, she has used her music to face personal challenges. The song "Holding On" was written about her father, who died in December 2015.
"Love is the root of it all," Chandra said. "And holding your head high no matter how many times you get knocked down. There's a lot of that."
Ginger and the Gents said that audience members can expect to walk away from their show feeling recharged.
"[The live show] is like a rollercoaster: it has peaks and valleys," Chandra said. "It's a hell of a good time; we'll blow your hair back."
With Melody & The Breakups, My New Mistress
When • Friday, April 7, 9 p.m.
Where • Funk 'n Dive, 2550 Washington Blvd., Ogden
Tickets • $5 at the door