John Michael Montgomery & Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery-Gentry
John Michael Montgomery
JMM has turned an uncanny ability to relate to fans into one of country music’s most storied careers. Behind the string of hit records, the roomful of awards and the critical and fan accolades that have defined his phenomenal success lies a connection that goes beyond his undeniable talent and his proven knack for picking hits. Since the days when “Life’s A Dance” turned him from an unknown artist into a national star, John Michael’s rich baritone has carried that most important of assets–believability. Few artists in any genre sing with more heart than this handsome Kentucky-born artist.
It is readily apparent in love songs that have helped set the standard for a generation. Songs like “I Swear,” “I Love the Way You Love Me” and “I Can Love You Like That” still resonate across the landscape–pop icon and country newcomer Jessica Simpson cited “I Love The Way You Love Me” as an influence in a recent interview. It is apparent in the 2004 hit “Letters From Home,” one of the most moving tributes to the connection between soldiers and their families ever recorded, and in “The Little Girl,” a tale of redemption that plumbs both the harrowing and the uplifting. It is apparent even in the pure fun that has always found its way into John Michael’s repertoire–songs like “Be My Baby Tonight” and “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident),” where John Michael’s vocal earnestness takes musical whimsy to another level.
You might catch Eddie Montgomery taking a quick glance at an empty space beside him when he and The Wild Bunch take the stage to play the expected duet hits as well as tunes from his brand-new and mostly raucous solo debut “Ain’t No Closing Me Down.”
By tragic circumstance a solo artist, Eddie always feels the presence of Troy Gentry, his honky-tonking partner back to the days they played for beer or a chunk of flesh at a pig roast near their eastern Kentucky roots.
“I think he’ll have a blast with it, man,” says Eddie of his late partner. “I think he’s a part of it already. I’m sure he’ll be with me.” The man who is always “with” Eddie on stage and immersed in the soul of his first solo album is his long-time partner, Troy Gentry, who died Sept. 8, 2017, in a helicopter crash that could have put a tragic end to Montgomery Gentry sound. Except Eddie made a promise that the MG sound would go on: Which, at its heart, is what this new album is all about.
Blue Gate Performing Arts Center
760 S Van Buren St
Shipshewana, IN 46565