LifeNotes: Songwriter/Actor Nancy Montgomery Passes

Nancy Montgomery.

Nancy Montgomery

[Updated]: The life of Nancy Montgomery will be celebrated on May 1 at Greater Nashville Unitarian Universalist Church, located at 374 Hicks Road in Nashville. The service will take place at 1 p.m.

Donations can be made to Alive Hospice or to MusiCares.

 

[Original Post, April 21 @ 9:18 a.m.]

Hit country songwriter Nancy Montgomery has died following a battle with cancer.

Montgomery co-wrote three top-10 hits and many other charted songs during the 1980s and 1990s. Friends Juanita Copeland and Renee Shaw report that she died on Friday, April 17.

The songwriter was also a recording artist and an actor who performed in many commercials, movies and TV series. She was the recurring character “Juanita” on the CW network’s The Vampire Diaries in 2009-2010.

Born in Philadelphia, Nancy Montgomery came to Nashville in the 1970s. Signed to Ovation Records, she made the country charts in 1981 with her revival of The Everly Brothers classic “All I Have to Do Is Dream.”

Among the earliest artists to record her songwriting efforts was the Atlantic Records band McGuffey Lane, who released “Making a Living’s Been Killing Me” in 1982 and took it midway up the charts early the following year.

The Kendalls issued her co-written “I Never Looked Good in Blue” in 1983 and made the charts with her “Too Late” in 1986.

Montgomery’s first top-10 hit as a writer was “I Wanna Hear it From You” sung by Eddy Raven in 1985. The following year, Reba McEntire popularized her “Why Not Tonight.” Ricky Skaggs & Sharon White hit the top-10 with their duet of Montgomery’s co-written “Love Can’t Ever Get Better Than This” in 1987.

The sister trio The McCarters sang Montgomery’s biggest hit as a writer, 1988’s “The Gift.” Billy Montana charted with “Oh Jenny” in 1988, as did Irene Kelley with “Love Is a Hard Road” in 1989.

Highway 101 had a top-30 hit with her “Baby I’m Missing You” in 1992. Bluegrass artists Rhonda Vincent and Deanie Richardson both recorded “Moving Out” in 1991.

Others who recorded Nancy Montgomery songs include Waylon Jennings, Lacy J. Dalton, The Whites, Mark Collie and Lynn Morris.

She moved to Chicago in 2002 to seek more voiceover work in radio and television commercials. She also worked in a vintage-apparel store there. The Vampire Diaries series was filmed in Atlanta.

Montgomery returned to songwriting with “Finally Here,” which won numerous song-contest awards in 2013-14. Her co-writer Justin Froese, created a popular video of the song for the inspirational-music market. Publicist Renee Shaw described the song’s end-of-life lyric as a fitting eulogy for her friend.

The family is planning a memorial service to be held in May, but details have not been announced.

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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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