The duo Montgomery Gentry has had years of success in country music. Together, Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry have been nominated for and won numerous awards, had five No. 1 songs and have been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. On September 8, 2017, the unthinkable happened; Troy Gentry died in a helicopter crash. CMChat talked with Eddie Montgomery about that day, the new album set to release this week and how he plans to keep making music without his best friend by his side.
Eddie debated whether he would still release the new album Here’s to You after Troy’s death, but he said it reminded him of their first album Tattoos and Scars and he knew he had to release it.
We had so much fun cutting it and just got it finished two days before that horrific accident. The world stopped that day to me. After the accident, man, I was wondering if I could go on or not, you know without T-Roy. We’ve been together for 35 years and we’ve known each other longer than we’ve known our wives. So you know when that happened, man, he got his vocals done two days before, and so I loved the cd.
The cornerstone of the album is the song “Better Me” featuring Troy Gentry on lead vocals. Eddie decided to release it just days after Troy’s death as a tribute to his friend and debuted it at Gentry’s Celebration of Life at the Grand Ole Opry House. The album is filled with those southern, good ole boy themes that fans are used to hearing from the duo. The song “Get Down South” beckons the listener to see all the great things about the south. In his strong, southern, Kentucky accent, Eddie chuckled and talked about how it came together.
I’ll tell you, man, I didn’t know if I could do that song or not. I’m gonna be honest with you. I’ve talked through some songs but I’ve never really done all that rappin’ stuff. I can’t do no rap stuff, but I can talk kinda like it. I said I still got to sing it a little bit. I hope it come out alright. I think it did. So far, everybody seems to love the hell out of it.
“That’s the thing about America” is the perfect song for the times. Right now, with the country so divided and everyone having difficulty seeing each other’s points of view, this song says that “you can dream or do say what you wanna.” The beauty of America is you can protest and fight for your beliefs, no matter what they might be.
Jeffrey Steele wrote it and I absolutely loved the song. Then I tried to sing it. Of course, where I’m from Kentucky, my hillbilly accent, and Jeffrey, the superstar he is, coming from California, our slang was a little different. It took me a little bit of time to sing that song, but I’ll tell you what, it’s just a very well written song and a great song what it talks about.
“Drink along Song” is a light-hearted tune that is just meant for everyone to forget their worries and cares, sing along and have fun.
It was the way me and T-Roy grew up. I always make a joke about it, but my mom was a drummer and my dad was a guitar player and the bartenders were our babysitters. T-Roy’s dad owned a bar and so that’s what we’ve always known is the bar businesses and music. So we’ve seen everybody. When they come in the bar, they might be having a shot to celebrate a promotion, or they might be having a shot to celebrate a divorce. Somebody might be going like, well, I need a shot because I just got fired. When people come in, we’d listen to their stories, man, and sing songs and drink and be merry together.
2018 is the 20th Anniversary of Montgomery Gentry as a band.
It’s this only thing I know, the only thing we’ve ever done. Me and T, this was it. You know a lot of people come to Nashville or get into the music business, it’s like, well, I want to be a star or I want to make millions. You know, we done it because it’s who we were. We loved it, that’s what our family was. We got blessed by the man upstairs that the rest of it came. So you know, we are just going to keep going.
Eddie recognizes that the fans have been there for them all these years and he loves being able to meet and connect with them on a personal level.
We ain’t never called nobody fans, we call them friends. So we are going to get the tour going and we figure our friends will let us know how we are doing. There’s nothing like being on stage when you’re singing a song and everybody in the crowd is singing it all back to you. I don’t care how different you are, music brings everybody together.
Eddie is keeping the Montgomery Gentry name going strong, not only with the new album but also with a tour. He plans to let his band fill in and sing the parts once sung by Troy.
I tell ya, I’ve talked about it, of course our band’s been with us 25 years and so all of us guys have been through everything on the road. If I was feeling a little sick or under the weather on vocals, or Troy, our guys would always help us. They are all great singers so they’re gonna step in and we really want to honor T-Roy.
With everything he has been through, Eddie Montgomery plans to spend 2018 honoring his friend and continuing to do what they both loved so much.
Make music, go out and have a lot of fun. If there’s crying to do, we’ll do some crying. If there’s drinking to do, we’ll do some drinking. Living it up with T-Roy.