Teddy Wayne Gentry was born in Fort Payne, Alabama on January 22, 1952. At an early age, Teddy moved to nearby Lookout Mountain with his mother to live with his grandfather, Paw Paw. Paw Paw lived in a wooden frame house on a 60 acre cotton farm.
After graduating from High School , early in his music career, Teddy worked many other jobs to pay the rent. Teddy recalls he did just about everything, "I ran a theatre, I laid carpet, I bagged groceries and I worked on a farm."
When not playing with Alabama, Teddy enjoys spending time with his family and directing operations at his Bent Tree Farms. After receiving his first check from RCA records in 1980 for $61,000, he asked his wife Linda what he should do with the money. She answered, "What means the most to you?" "Why don't you buy your grandfathers farm--where you were raised, because I know you love the old place."
Well, that's exactly what he did. His grandfather agreed to sell the 60-acre cotton farm, soon to be named Bent Tree Farms, for $1000 an acre, where he had lived since the late 1920’s.
By 1980, Teddy’s grandfather was no longer able to farm the land and wished for Teddy to take over the farm. Teddy’s interest in the cattle business had continued to grow so in 1981 he purchased a neighboring farm that had belonged to his great-grandfather, Owen. The purchase of the new 60 acre farm grew the total farm size to around 140 acres.
Where did Bent Tree Farms get it’s name? Teddy explains: “My son Josh was in the second or third grade. One night we were going over rhymes, we had rhymed several words and suddenly I said our last name -- Gentry. To which he replied, Bent Tree. I was telling one of the boys working on the farm the next day about my son's saying Bent Tree. He replied, ‘You know what a bent tree is?’ I said, ‘no.’”
“He said, ‘In Oklahoma, where I used to live, there were Bent Trees that the Indians would bend over when the trees were small and tie them to the ground, to point the direction the tribe was moving at the time.’”
“I contacted a lady at the Alabama Historical Society who told me there were bent trees along the top of Lookout Mountain and Little River Canyon where our farm is. When we found out this information, we decided to change the name of the farm to Bent Tree Farms.”
When it comes to music Teddy plays by ear and has written hundreds of songs. He has co-written many of the Alabama hits -- "How Do I Fall In Love," "Why Lady Why," "My Home's In Alabama," "Fallin' Again," "Give Me One More Shot," "Sad Lookin' Moon," to name a few. He's also the founder and president of Creative Cafe.
Teddy was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in November 2005 along with his partners in Alabama. As part of his acceptance speech Teddy remarked, “Being put into the Country Music Hall of Fame is the greatest achievement of Alabama's career. I am moved and honored to be in the elite company of my heroes.”
One of Teddy’s favorite career memories was the night ACMA presented Alabama with "The Entertainer Of The Year Award." That was a dream come true for him and the band. Teddy enjoys reading fan mail, especially "from the young fans" and wants all their fans to "Turn other people on to our music." When asked if he had any thoughts for the fans, Teddy says, "I would like to extend many thanks for your support over the years and I hope that we can always put out a piece of product that will make the fans proud of us.