Montgomery Gentry to kickstart holiday

By Curt Chapman
Staff Writer
Posted 6/27/07

They might not have been country when country wasn’t cool, but since their debut in 1999, Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry have made up for lost time. As Montgomery Gentry, the pair has become one of the genre’s hottest acts, setting Nashville …

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Montgomery Gentry to kickstart holiday


They might not have been country when country wasn’t cool, but since their debut in 1999, Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry have made up for lost time. As Montgomery Gentry, the pair has become one of the genre’s hottest acts, setting Nashville on fire with one hit after another.

“We have a lot of Southern rock influence in our music,” Gentry said in a telephone interview last week.

With lyrics reflecting everyday life and that gritty rock edge they are known for, the boys will perform Tuesday, at 8 p.m., at The Amphitheater at the Wharf, corner of Canal Road and the Foley Beach Express, in Orange Beach. They are not newcomers to the outdoor venue, however.

“This will be our second time visiting there,” Gentry said. “We played it last year, and will be back July 3rd to do it again.”

The band draws a diverse crowd, he said, from age 10 or so on up. Gentry added, “It’s always a rockin’ crowd and a fun crowd.”

There’s also a lot of interaction. Gentry said the audience is just as much a part of the show as the musicians on stage. Perhaps that’s because they so closely relate to the group’s songs.

They are mostly blue-collar anthems, tales of life, work, love, loss and patriotism balanced by the hard-partying spirit that takes the edge off — “the good, the bad, the ugly and the party on the weekends,” as Montgomery has long described it.

One such song, “Some People Change,” reveals an ugliness of life. From the young man brought up by a racist father to the daughter of an alcoholic mother, the lyrics explore choices and one’s ability to change.

“The older generation was brought up in certain ways, but society these days has changed,” Gentry said. “Even older adolescents and young adults know what’s the right and wrong things to do. We have a unique ability now to get out and network, and shut down a lot of the hatred.”

The leadoff single and title track from their latest CD, “Some People Change” became the fastest-rising in their catalog. Considered a reflection of the continued maturing of Montgomery Gentry on a number of levels, the single is a deeper exploration of issues they have always deemed important.

Just never accuse Montgomery Gentry of singing “cry in your beer music.”

Gentry said hearing someone use the terminology is “like a nail going down a chalkboard. They’re not listening to country music, and they’re stereotyping.”

He added, “We give them something they can grab on to. It’s situational, and it identifies with everyday people. Eddie and I have always tried to do that through our music.”

Gentry admits the group started out with hard-driving, in your face, honky-tonk songs before settling into the working man’s brand of music they (and country music fans) now seem to embrace.

“In today’s (country radio) format, you could take the Eagles and it fits in as well as any other music out there.”

Montgomery Gentry’s journey began in northern Kentucky.

Montgomery grew up in his family's band, where he and his brother, John Michael, spent their formative years in honky-tonks, falling in love with the music of Hank Williams Jr., Charlie Daniels, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Influenced by his mother’s love of music, Gentry favored George Jones, Haggard, Randy Travis and Williams Jr. By high school, he was in his first talent contest.

The Montgomery brothers and Gentry joined forces in a band called Young Country until John Michael landed a record deal. His brother joined his band and Gentry went solo, winning the national Jim Beam Talent Contest in 1994. When Eddie Montgomery returned to Kentucky, he and Gentry found themselves on stage together at various charity concerts, and they decided to get back together.

Columbia Records signed them, and a string of hits soon followed. They include “Hillbilly Shoes,” “Lonely And Gone,” “Daddy Won't Sell The Farm,” “She Couldn't Change Me,” “My Town,” “Speed,” “Hell Yeah,” “Gone” and “If You Ever Stop Loving Me.”

They have performed for well over a million fans, and prior to headlining their own tours, they opened for Kenny Chesney and Brooks & Dunn.

Gentry said he and Montgomery are about to go in the studio to work on their seventh album. A new single from their current CD is due out this month, and look for them on the season premiere of “Las Vegas” on NBC in August.

Montgomery Gentry will perform along with special guest Tracy Lawrence, July 3 at The Amphitheater at the Wharf, Canal Road at the Foley Beach Express. The gates open at 7 p.m.; showtime is at 8.

Tickets are $49.50, $39.50, or $16.50, and are available through Ticketmaster outlets and online at