Four years have passed since Troy Gentry, half of the popular country duo Montgomery Gentry, tragically died in a helicopter crash. Countless fans and industry members mourned Gentry’s shocking death, but few were as impacted as his partner and best friend, Eddie Montgomery.
Together the Kentucky natives had built a loyal fan-base with their songs about the everyman, patriotism, and having a good time. In their nearly 20 years together, Montgomery Gentry celebrated multiple CMA and ACM award wins, became members of the Grand Ole Opry and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, and had 20+ hit singles such as “My Town,” “Something To Be Proud Of,” “Lucky Man,” and many more.
A few weeks back, Montgomery took a step out on his own and released his fist album as a solo artist, called Ain’t No Closing Me Down, via Average Joes Entertainment.
“I’m so used to looking to my left and seeing T-Roy,” Montgomery shares of his partner whom he affectionately called “T-Roy.”
“Me and T-Roy made a pact a long time ago over some Jim Beam, back when we were a little bit younger. We made a pact that if either one of us went down, the other one would keep the MG name going. I’m gonna keep my promise.”
And he has.
Montgomery’s debut solo effort includes 12 tracks produced by Grammy award-winning producer Noah Gordon and award-winning producer Shannon Houchins.
Montgomery wrote on eight of the project’s songs, along with co-writers Ira Dean, Jeffrey Steele, Chris Wallin, David Lee Murphy, and nephew Walker Montgomery.
The title track, “Ain’t No Closing Me Down,” is in true Montgomery Gentry form with its unapologetic lyrics and southern rock sound. It was inspired by Montgomery’s feelings about lockdown over the past two years.
“They locked everything down. You couldn’t go to a restaurant or go to a bar, and I’m a bar fly. Me and T-Roy have always been bar flies, we grew up that way,” Montgomery says. “I was sitting at home and [I got an idea.] I have a pretty good size garage, so I backed my truck out and put it in the yard. The next thing I know, I’m hanging TVs on the wall, and a dart board and a disco ball.
“I went and bought this big commercial refrigerator. The restaurants were closing down, so they were selling equipment and I got a hell of a deal on it,” he continues. “And I’ve got all these grills, smokers, and flat tops. The next thing I know, hell, everybody was starting to stop by bringing beer, Jim Beam, steaks, hot dogs and hamburgers.”
The DIY-garage bar inspired the song, which Montgomery wrote with Wallin and Dean. “Ain’t nobody going to close America down. That’s just the way it is. I thought, ‘I’m not going to stop, I love playing music. I’m keeping my promise and I’m gonna keep on rocking.'”
A gorgeous track on the album, “My Son,” taps into more loss that Montgomery has been through, the loss of two of his sons. The song was featured in the new American western film starring Tim Blake Nelson, Old Henry.
“I can’t thank Noah Gordon enough. He produced my record and we wrote that song together,” Montgomery says. “I was thinking about my boys writing that. It came from my soul.”
Another great track, “Alive and Well,” highlights Montgomery’s gratitude for life, even in the face of intense grief and pain. “It’s hard to get back up again / When you lose two sons and your best friend,” Montgomery sings. “I know deep down, that’s what they’d want / So I’ll just keep breathin’ until I don’t / ‘Cause they’re still around just as long as I’m alive and well.”
“I wanted to write about Troy, my sons, and some feelings I had locked up inside me. And I tell you what, it actually helped me,” Montgomery shares. “I felt like the whole time I was in the studio and writing, T-Roy was right there, man.”
Not all tracks features Montgomery’s sole voice, however. The singer is joined by Tanya Tucker on the track “Higher.” “I’ll put Tanya against any new female artist right now. Her voice is that damn stout. It’s unreal how strong of a singer she is.”
Ultimately, Montgomery evokes the spirit of Montgomery Gentry in all twelve tracks on Ain’t No Closing Me Down. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss him,” Montgomery shares.
Ain’t No Closing Me Down is available everywhere now.
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