Celebrating Kent Bilbrey

STELLATO SUNT SOMNIA (Stars are Dreams) 

The world has less color without you 
Everything is a little more gray 
We had this thing in common 
We both believed in dreams 

We both loved to marvel 
at the lights in the Heavens 
and spend much time in wonder 
which was real and which was illusion 

Your dreams, my friend, now hang 
in suspended animation 
like stars in the inky sky 
Your dreams live on in fluid reality 

Sparkling in the night 

~Written by Glenn Ward, a life long friend

In case you did not know Kent.... 

Kent Worked his first professional union gig at the tender age of 12. Beginning in the mid-70's Kent had been involved with some aspect of the entertainment business. He could play "anything with strings", would sing, compose, produce, record, hang lights, set sets, make props, and he ran sound ,too. Kent could not be defined by any single style other than "That Knoxville Sound." Obviously influenced by traditional and regional music, Kent played and loved all schools of the blues, dixieland, jazz and of course ROCK AND ROLL!!!! Kent has been focusing more on his gospel and religious music before he passed. He, along with many friends, made some beautiful music. It is difficult not to listen and simply smile through the tears. He spent his life creating a legacy for us all to appreciate. Kent was a blessing to all and will continue to be to all who enjoy his music. 
I told Kent one day we should create a place online for all who share The Knoxville Sound. He agreed whole-heartedly, and we got to work. He wanted to showcase anyone, before himself, and loved to be a part of whatever was goingin on locally and regionally. He knew his roots and his loyalty was true to this heritage. Please enjoy the music and video on this page. He asked me numerous times to please keep the music up and going. So, that is why I continue the Knoxville Sound, and have created this memorial page. Any money from any of his projects will be forwarded to charity. Thank you for reading this and visiting this page.

The following is a compilation by Sande Riggs:

When we remember Kent, we should remember the mandolin and love he had in his heart for everyone.  From Dr. Pendyke, to Dollywood, to Outlaw Willie Frank, the music brough joy to all.  His songwriting could paint pictures that could break your heart.  He came to pick, grin, and remember on my porch.  i heard November is Crying  at its birth. Kent understood how much music mean to me and would open reverberation for me so i could have the musi.  He had a big heart,  which can't be told enough.   Church was important to him as much as the music.  This neighbor will miss him.

When I received word of Kent's passing, after having talked with him a short while before, i felt the loss for my  heart and for others.  Yet, I knew that foro him he ould now find sweet release a calm peace to the pain of a young girl's tragic murder, that never left him.

The Bilbrey familly grew up just up the hill from me, where i myself had been off and on spent my teenage years, after my father's retirement from the Air Force and later as a Deputy Sheriff, and knew a daughter's grief was long.  Kent wanted to tell Daddy's story for a Veteran's Program Kent was working on.  We spent hours on my porch discussing police work. And, the tragic times when we as the protector cannot prevent.  The pain of this never goes away.  Kent knew that on my porch besides music, safety was always there.  Kent came often unnanounced and would share his demons, that perhaps only i could understand.  Or at least having the ability to listen to all.  

Tears of grief found their way to him as he remembered images that he ould never escape.  I am sure many wondered where the dark songs came from.  Maybe some knew.  But, I knew.  Now he could only find peace within the music he could write, sing, and play.  The porch's quiet arms helped a greieving daughter and also a grieving veteran.  

Kent's passing leaves an empty place in my heart.  Let us remember the music to celebrate all he gave to us all.  


The Mandolin strings could sing like no other

From Air Force to Dollywood, to Dr. Pendyke

Searching for Peace knowing only the Lord

Could provide the solace he needed

on my porch enjoying the afternoon

saying goodbye to old kentucky

letting me have the music for free

November Crying sweet refrains

recalling what life had

brought to pass

a heart so broken

from a time time  he could never

put away

safety on a porch, summer afternoon

on Redbud Ridge

on a hill

knew he would find peace when morning came

sun shining as he walked toward the top of the ridge

his joy and peace waiting ...


For Kent:

Early morning sun rises on the ridge

For another day bringing music on shining rays

Of yellow, orange, red, soft purple, and blues

Promises that this the beauty of the days

Would come with more sweet songs from the heart

Painting portraits of dreams from a soul trying to forget the past

Mandolin and guitar that only he could  bring to life

With November is Crying sweet music from the ridge could ring

So true, so full of hope, in quiet repose

To fly from the past hoping this day will put that away

To forget and go on maybe the strings could help

Yet too soon the gentle troubled soul's music that touched us all would be gone

And another day comes with the sunrise on the ridge

Sande Riggs

May 2015


picture from Julia Cole Rose.

Most of us cannot remember Kent without some stringed instrument in his hands; but he was so much more than just an awesomely gifted player. He would have identified himself as a musician and without that; you would never understand what made him tick. I will leave it to others to share musical memories. 
Personally, I have never enjoyed another friendship where I was challenged every day to step out of complacency and move boldly into changing all that is wrong and making it right. Subjects changed but his urgency and passion remained constant. 
Knowing Kent made me someone unwilling to accept the unacceptable. Without his unwavering influence and loyalty, I would have drowned in a sea of apathy. I will miss him. 

~Lisa Griffith 

Oh, my dear, dear friend, my heart is so broken.  I keep thinking about when we were young, those long walks to Kay's to eat lunch, and our days at Gold Rush Junction and, then, Silver Dollar City (especially when you got out of the boat in the Flooded Mine).  You were my first love and a best friend.  The fun we had!  I just can't believe your gone, but I will see you again. I love you. 

~Melody Johnson 

I would like to just express my condolences to the family & those of us that we're friends with Kent! He was a wonderful friend & a great musician & it is with much gratitude that I thank him for his military service & his love of God & country! Rest in peace my friend until we meet again! 

~Tina Brewer Gibson​ 

​I am so sorry for your loss, I went to the same High School with him. His brother Scott and my brother were close friends. Kent reached out to all of my family a couple months ago when I lost my brother. His kindness meant so much to us. I am truly sadden by his passing. Will be keeping this family in prayer. 

​~Beverly Cupp Clark 

Sorry and shocked to the news about Kent.as a friend and school mate .had some good times together. he went much too soon.will miss you. 

~Roger& Gena Holbert 

Kent and I were stationed at McConnell AFB. And Eielson AFB, together. We made the ranks of E-3 to E-5 together. We became friends and colleagues the moment we meant. Kent's sense of humor and kindness can only be described as one of a kind. Kent was there for my daughters birth and helped raise her for the first 2 years of her life. The memories of bass, walleye, and cat fishing in Kansas, to grayling, pike, pinks silvers, reds, and king salmon in Alaska. Moose and Caribou hunting in Tok to bear hunting on the the Yukon, to dip netting on the Copper river, to everything in between.. not to mention ice fishing at 50% below 0, and know where to go! The memories of you will live on in my mind and heart each time I reach for a rifle or fishing pole. You are and will always be my friend and colleague... Rest in peace my friend.​ 

​~Scott Emery 

I will see you on the other side, my dear brother. Walk in Peace and Light. 

~Rose Hawley 

So sad to hear of Kent ' s passing. Praying for his family and his mom on her healing. 

~Cheryl Rose Drain 

This world is now missing a very sweet song.... Rest in Peace. 

~Alisha Hamilton 

Rip my dear friend... 

Jessica Godsey Bilbrey 

So very sorry...such a loss. 

​~Carrie Hamilton 

So deeply sorry to hear of Kent's passing. He was a good man and a good friend....and I respected his skill and talent very much. Prayers of comfort and strength for his family and loved ones. 

So deeply sorry to hear of Kent's passing. He was a good man and a good friend....and I respected his skill and talent very much. Prayers of comfort and strength for his family and loved ones. 
~Karen E. Reynolds 

I'm so shocked and so sorry. 

​~Steve Hooks 

Rest in peace my musical friend. 

~Michael James 

Greg and family, so sorry to hear of this. My deepest condolences to the family. 

~S. Raymond Parker 

You left us to soon my friend..but I know you're dancing and singing with the angels. We'll see you again some day Brother..​ 

~Jeff E. Tolson 

Life is so unfair......we were not ready for you to leave us....but we know that you are singing with the angels.....Thank you for being such a true friend and example of a caring heart.....GO REST HIGH ON THAT MOUNTAIN MY FRIEND.....YOUR WORK ON EARTH IS DONE.....TIL WE MEET AGAIN......REST IN PEACE KENT!! 

~Nancy Tipton Hall 

I feel chapped & cheated that you were taken before your time to go. I will never know a more profound wisdom & friendship I knew through you. Truly, you were amazing. 

~Amber Leigh 

From The Ciderville Farm and Home Show,Our Heart go's out to the Family. RIP 

~Don Bell 

Never have I had a truer friend...wish I could see the angels faces when they hear your sweet voice sing...love ya brother... 

~Willie Franklin 

I am in total shock! My sweet friend, I will miss you terribly. You soar high on the wings of Angels. Forever in my heart. I love you. 

~Melissa Walkup Oaks 

~Omg this is so sad my heart goes out to his family rest in peace​ 

​Robin Yvonne Wallace 

I am shocked and saddened to hear of this news, may you find rest in the arms of the Lord 

~Mike Campbell 

I am shocked and saddened of this news..my prayer goes out to his family...may God be with you and comfort you..Heaven has a great man.. 

~Michael Mills 

This is shocking news I pray that the Good Lord comfort this great Family at this time. 

~Ron Colquitt 

Gone too soon from this world....rest in peace, friend. 

~Cynthia Woods 

​My sympathy goes out to his friends and family. I am so sorry for your loss. He will be greatly missed! 

~Cindy Ruby Wilson 

Safe Journey my friend... 

​~Carrie Little Bird 

​A wise man that I know once said, when his beloved wife didn't wake up one morning, "God brings the sweetest people home in their sleep". Goodnight, my friend Kent Mandoman Bilbrey. 

~Sarah Pirkle 

I love you like a brother and I will miss you. Viya Con Dios, KB. 

~Terry Phillips 

​I wasn't ready to say good bye, my friend..but I was blessed just for knowing you! 

​~Robin Chesser Chaer Hackler 

Rip..u are missed 

​~Ronnie Korkow 

Go Rest High On That Mountain Kent 

~Lisa G. Long 

RIP. Gonna miss our chats. 

~Anita Shoffner 

​Gonna miss you, brother. Thanks for all the tunes and the endless smiles. 

~Stewart Payne 

Here's to new beginnings. 

~Tom Smith 

​​​​​​​​​​​These are taken from The Knoxville News Sentinel: 

​I just found out. Sorry for the families loss. 
~ Dennis Double, 
Knoxville, Tennessee 

Mr. and Mrs Bilbrey, words cannot express my sorrow for the loss of Kent. I pray God will give you comfort in the difficult days ahead. 
~ Brenda and Benny Henderson, 

Kent you were a one of a kind! So glad I could call you my friend! Prayers of peace and comfort for your family! 
 ~Pat Long-Greene, 
Knoxville, Tennessee 

We are so sorry for your loss. Kent was one in a million. Always ready to help others in need. My dad Harold Ward passed away last year and Kent was there to comfort me and offering to help us. He will be dearly missed. May God bless you with comfort and peace. Much love, Kim and Janice Ward. 
~Kimberly Patterson, 
Knoxville, Tennessee 

Kent was a dear friend whom I learned much from. The mandolin will never sound the same. 
 ~Jeff Delaney, 
Knoxville, Tennessee 

My dear friend Kent...I will truly miss you & I will never forget you. We met so long ago @ a skating rink on Chapman Highway & were life-long friends. I loved out long talks, sharing memories & the words that you would put with your beautiful music. My thoughts & prayers are with your family. May they find comfort in knowing you are with Jesus now & they will see you again. I love you always Kent. 
~Melissa Oaks, 

Kent was a friend of mine since junior high school. He dated my best girlfriend, Cissy Lay at the time. Kent was an intelligent, handsome, well mannered & talented individual. I will miss seeing & chatting with him. May God bless you all! 
~Tracy Hopson, 

So sorry for your loss. May God be with you during this difficult time. You are in my thoughts and prayers. 
~Sherry Knight Ammons, 
Knoxville, TN 

Kent & I went thru junior & high school. Kent was such a special person & quite the character! I know there is a lively band in heaven now! Kent you will be missed & thank you for your military service! My prayers are with the Bilbrey family! 
~ Tina's Brewer-Gibson, 
Maryville, Tennessee 

I am very, very sorry. Madeline means so much to me, and I'm so sad for her and the family. God be with you all. 
~ Sandy Gammon, 
Knoxville, Tennessee 

Sorry for your loss. Our prayers are with your family 
~ Paul & Faye Milligan, 
Knoxville, Tennessee 

Words can't express the shock of losing yet another young vibrant soul. I had the great pleasure of meeting and having Kent in my home. I spent my teen years a good friend of Greg's. I can't begin to understand your grief. Please take solace in knowing that all our Prayers go out to your Wonderful Family. Kent is a musician in the most Magnificent Choir. RIP Kent we will all miss you Dearly. 
~ Françoise Ginette Westcott, 
Maryville, Tennessee 

Deepest sympathies to the family for your loss. Our family is with us in our hearts Forever. 
~ Mark Blevins, 
Lebanon, Tennessee 

So Sorry for your loss! Way to young. Prayers for your family. 
~ Terry Lay, 
Powell, Tennessee 

You all are in our thoughts and prayers. So sorry for your loss. 
Fellow musicians.... 

~Jackie Barbarette and Linda Edwrds 

Fly away where the music takes you, Kent. Missed by so many, a true testament of your character. Your words of wisdom & kindness will be sorely missed. 
~ Amber Cornett, 
Knoxville, Tennessee 

What a tragic loss. So very sad to hear of Kent's passing. He will always be remembered by me as a true music lover. I am keeping you all on my heart and in my prayers during the difficult days ahead. 
From Pick'nGrin Music 
~ Tami Brewster, 
Knoxville, Tennessee 

I was shocked and saddened to hear about Kent's untimely passing. My deepest sympathy to all of his family. Kent and I had been in touch a fair amount on Facebook the last year or so...kept threatening to have a jam session the next time I came home to Knoxville. I'm sorry we never were able to follow through on that. I have very fond memories from high school days of Kent, Scott and Greg, and especially his parents. They were stalwart members of the Band Parents at South and South-Young. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. 
~ Ed Gaston, 
Orlando, Florida 

Rest in Peace Old Friend 
~ Luke, 
Knoxville, Tennessee 

Sending prayers for comfort and understanding. I am so sorry for your family's loss. Kent was such a talent. 
~ Kathy Morgan 

What you gave to me my friend I will cherish and I will strive to use your example as an American and a human being as a quide line in my own life....I will forever play your music and share your story...I pray peace and comfort for your family.... 
~ Willie Franklin, 
Greenback, Tennessee 

Sending prayers and love to all the family. 
~ Jennifer Griffith Ward, 
Tampa, Florida 

I send love and prayers at this very difficult time. I am so sorry for your loss. 
~ Patti Neff Gray, 
Nashville, Tennessee 

Praying for family 
~ Karen & Jerry Bedford, 
Seymour, Tennessee 

Prayers of comfort sent to your family and friends. Rest in peace. 
~ Alan Whitson, 
Knoxville, Tennessee 

I knew you as a teen and later as a FB friend. Enjoy your music and shared many good talks. I will miss you dear Kent. 
~ Elva Hubard, 
White House, Tennessee 

We are so sorry for Kent's passing. Our deepest sympathy, we understand your sorrow and grief. 
~ Buddy & Peggy Cupp, 
Knoxville, Tennessee 

My sincerest sympathy. May the God of all comfort strengthen your family during this time of sorrow. Those who die God keeps in his memory because he cares, they are precious in his eyes. Psalms:116:15 

Celebrating a life well lived. We will cherish the memories forever. 
~ Steve Huskey, 
Knoxville, Tennessee 

He was One of a kind Character for sure. I am proud to call him my friend...I pray for peace for the love ones he left behind. May he play and sing with the angels. 
~ vicki rickman, 
Knoxville, Tennessee 

I never met Kent. I have seen countless interactions with Jennifer and him on facebook. It was obvious how much he cared and was cared for. Rest in peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. 
~ Christy & Eddie Castro, 
Alexandria, Virginia 

~ VeRhonda Hembree, 
Huntsville, Tennessee 

I remember meeting Kent one time at Lake Forest, at the Lunch Bunch. I remembered he played the guitar while people were arriving. I've met you, Madeline, and your husband at Lake Forest. I was so sorry to read of Kent's death. Please accept my sympathy. 
~ Edith Williams, 
Knoxville, Tennessee 

David & Madeline, my thoughts and prayers have been with you. I'm so sorry for your lossl 
~ Dottie Wheeler, 
Knoxville, TN 

Kent was a close friend and musical colleague of mine for many years. I will miss him greatly. Condolences and prayers of peace and love to his family and all his friends. 
~ Terry Phillips, 
Knoxville, TN 

In this life we are given precious fleeting gifts...you my darling friend were more precious to me than finest gold...A part of my heart has left and gone with you...some day I will catch up with you and reclaim that piece of my heart and be whole once again. Then forever we will sing together God's praise. 

~Linda Tipton, 
Knoxville, Tennessee 

It is with deep sorrow that I have just learned of Kent's passing. I so enjoyed jammin' with him at your bro Frank Tighe's birthday party, when all of you came to Huntsville. I know how hard this is on all of you, but I know both of them are together now with others we have all loved thru the years. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. 
~ Louise Walker, 
Oneida, Tennessee