We recently had a chance to catch up with Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry after their stay in the Florida Keys earlier this month for the annual Country on the Beach event that they hosted benefiting the T.J. Martell Foundation. They will be back in South Florida this Saturday for a show with Love & Theft at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater. Check out our interview with them below!
Thank you guys for taking the time to answer our questions. We’re looking forward to your show at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater on October 15th!
First off, Eddie, how are you feeling after your dehydration episode in the Keys?
Eddie: Oh I’m feelin’ great man, it feels great to be back, just went down for a little bit.
That is great to hear! You released an album, Folks Like Us, last June nearly 4 years after your previous album. Can fans expect new music soon without such a long wait?
Eddie: Yes, we’re actually lookin’ for songs now, plannin’ on going back in the studio this fall, 2016, and have somethin’ out in the spring of 2017.
Outside of music and family, what are your passions in life?
Eddie: Most definitely man, I love fishin’, I just got into golf, it’s awesome. Still love bein’ outdoors.
What would you say has been the biggest “Wow” moment for Montgomery Gentry as a duo?
Eddie: Oh gosh, well there’s been a lot of them. Meetin’ your heroes that turned you on (to country music) like Waylon, Charlie Daniels, things like that. Winnin’ your first award, of course getting a record deal is a huge one. So there’s been so many and gettin’ to see the world, that’s been pretty awesome.
Troy: There’s been many of them in the past, from first award show win, to record sales, platinum albums, but I guess the biggest for me would be the moment that we were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. That’s been something that’s been on our “To-Do” List since we first came to town back in 1997, it was something we wanted to accomplish. That was a big one for us.
Have you ever regretted passing on recording a song that went on to be a hit for somebody else? If so, what song(s)?
Eddie: Ya know, there’s been a couple that’s been huge hits for other people like McGraw, Adkins…Trace Adkins, and other people, but sometimes when you get a song, you go into the studio, and you sing it, and it’s what we call “you can’t hook it,” and anybody that sings or sometimes, ya know, when you’re singin’ it, it don’t come out right, and so, ya know, it happens to every artist.
Troy: There’ve been several songs that we’ve recorded in the past that…it’s almost gotten to the final leg of makin’ the record, and just for having too many people, too many chiefs, and everybody’s input on songs…certain songs have been cut in the past that went on to be hits for other people. Tim McGraw cut one, Trace Adkins cut “Chrome” that I thought was a great Montgomery Gentry hit, and Jason Aldean cut a song, “Flyover States,” that was in the last running at narrowing down from twelve songs to ten songs, that was one of the two that get left off that ended up being a big hit. So yeah, it happens, and ya just can’t sweat it, there’s so many songwriters, and so many great tunes in Nashville that there’s plenty to go around.
If you weren’t in the music business, what would you be doing right now for a living?
Eddie: Well, to be honest, I’ve never known anything but music, so I can’t say that there would be anything else, but ya know, I always thought it was cool when you see the military and all that, man, most of my family was military people, so I always thought that would’ve been cool to go into something like that.
Troy: If I wasn’t in the country music business, I’d probably be in the restaurant business. My family on my dad’s side had been in the restaurant business all their lives and I was in it with my dad working in the neighborhood bars and grills. And then his restaurant when I was in high school and early college, so that’s something that was kinda in our Gentry blood and genetics, so if I wasn’t playing music today, I’d probably have some type of restaurant, high-end restaurant, somewhere.
Who’ve you had the must fun touring with over the years?
Eddie: Oh gosh, I tell ya…just about all the artists, man…ya know ’cause we’ve been out with just about everybody and got to play with everybody over our last 17 years, and I tell ya know, Chesney man, he was great ’cause he was always a prankster. B&D (Brooks & Dunn), they were pranksters. Skynyrd guys…I mean, we’ve been very very very blessed man to play to go out with a lot of different people and play with a lot of different acts on stages, and ya never know man, ’cause most musicians are pranksters, so you never know what’s going to happen when you’re out on the road with ’em, so always keep your back to the wall!
Troy: We’ve had a lot of fun touring over the years with several artists, ya know. We’ve been out on the road with… our first big year when we came out, Brooks & Dunn, the Neon Circus was huge for us, and that was a lot of fun, one of those moments and memories you will never forget. We’ve been out with other great artists as well. Kenny Chesney’s tour was great, we were on his tour two or three different times. Toby Keith, we went out with a couple of times, and that was always a lot of fun too, so it’s great to be out on tour with people that you get along with and everybody has a good time hanging out together, and those would probably be my top three.
You do a lot of work with Storme Warren’s Nashville Navy and the TJ Martell Foundation. What other charities do you like to support?
Eddie: Ya know, of course St. Jude’s man, that’s an unbelievable, I mean, ’cause hopefully one of these days we’ll never even have to mention the “C” word ever again, and especially…if you haven’t been to St. Jude’s, you need to go down there and see…because it’s unbelievable. And anything…I also like…anyway we can help people have a better life, I’m always about that.
What are your thoughts on the state of today’s country music?
Eddie: To me, I think it’s great that it’s come, and I mean, that the way it is, a lot of the pop and the country now are the same. I still think at some time or another, there is gonna have to be a true…or split the radio stations where it goes “ok this is true country and this is, you’ve got today’s country…or what would you call it, a modern country.” And then you get your “country” country people because I know I still love to hear PURE…country…music, where it’s fiddle, steel, and ya know I’m a guy that’s a big guitar guy, but I love them pure country vocals, so sometimes I think that ya ought a have that, because there’s a lot of new, brand new acts that are very hardcore country, and they can’t seem to get played.
What advice would you give to an aspiring artist trying to make it in country music?
Eddie: Well first off, you gotta stay true to your roots, ’cause if you don’t know who ya are, then nobody else is gonna know who you are. And I think that a lot of times you gotta stick to your guns. Now, you can always evolve, and always listen, and ya know, you can’t always think that ya know, well, it’s my songs or no songs. So you gotta listen, ’cause there’s a lot of great writers down there, and once you get in with all the musicians and stuff, ’cause I’m not so sure all the record label heads know exactly the right thing. But when you get around a bunch of musicians down there, they know, and you can take it from all of ’em, and get all of your input, and then you find out who you really are.
Troy: What advice would I give to an aspiring artist? Have a great Plan B!