John Michael Montgomery alongside Jared Ashley played the Murphy Theatre this past Friday, October 9. In front of a crowd that included U.S. Military Veterans. Before the show both Montgomery and Ashley took time to meet with fans and get in a couple pictures. They had an “open door” policy on their tour buses and their meet and greet sessions.
The concert opened with a video about Operation Cherrybend. This weekend event allows veterans to come together to listen to music, meet some songwriters, go hunting, and bond over their experiences. Ashley and Ted DiBiase, Jr., who is a former WWE star, took time to hunt with the veterans group after the show. They showed a video of last year’s event and how it helped veterans across Ohio. This would be a concert unlike any other.
Most fans were eagerly awaiting Montgomery, but it would be Ashley who would surprise them the most with songs like “Tequila Kissin” and a classic Ohioan song “Hang on Sloopy.” The latter song energized the crowd into a full sing along. This up-and-coming star rocked the crowd with his first hit to ever get to country music radio, “Last Train to Memphis.” The passion from this song could be felt in every heart.
There was a short break after Ashley’s performance and the anticipation for Montgomery grew. People refilled their beers and the lights flickered to signal that it was time for the “Letters from Home” singer to play. He started off with ballads such as, “I Swear” and “I Can Love You Like That.” The crowd sang along and couples went to the front of the stage to dance with each other. He stopped after a couple of songs to talk about his daughter and how she was going off to college. Montgomery noted that while there were hardships in being a father, he wouldn’t trade it for the world. “She thinks I can rope the moon” Montgomery gushed as he started yet another hit “Rope the Moon.” People held onto each other and couples continued to dance as his voice soothed our souls. As if the crowd couldn’t be more emotional he started to talk about children and how he wanted the best in life for every child out there as his band started to play in the background the notes to “The Little Girl.” This song brought out his never-ending faith and hope for children.
Continuing to hit all the right notes with the crowd, Montgomery paid tribute to all the veterans in the audience by singing “Letters From Home,” which was a fan favorite. Emotions ran high as fans cried, sang, laughed, and yelled for joy throughout the song. The crowd had goosebumps throughout the entire song as a wounded veteran who received prosthetics stood up in the crowd with his fist held high in the air. Montgomery is one artist who can truly make the world stop.
Once this emotional tribute ended he wanted to pick it up a little by singing “Sold.” It’s a fast song with a catchy tune, but everyone gets tongue tied! I’m convinced that Montgomery is the only one that can sing this song without taking a breath. I was impressed!
His vocal range and ability to sing on a wide spectrum of country songs is the reason why he has had over 30 No. 1 hits in country music. With John Michael Montgomery bringing an emotional intensity making everyone feel like they were loved and Jared Ashley making it into a party, this concert was the best of both worlds and absolutely one of the best concerts I’ve attended. Thanks to both of them for giving us an awesome evening.
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