Montgomery Gentry Rediscover the Music That Made Them ‘Rebels on the Run’
This week marks the release Montgomery Gentry's highly-anticipated new album, 'Rebels on the Run.' The album is their first collection of new tunes in three years, and the duo's first effort with new label home, Average Joe's Entertainment. The tunes found on 'Rebels on the Run' will remind fans of Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry of the reasons they fell in love with the duo back in 1999 when they hit the music scene with their debut album, 'Tattoos and Scars.'
Throughout their long career, Montgomery Gentry have broken down every musical barrier set with their hit songs 'My Town,' 'Lucky Man,' 'Something to Be Proud Of,' 'If You Ever Stop Loving Me,' 'Roll With Me' and 'Back When I Knew It All,' among others. Their latest single, 'Where I Come From,' is already Top 40 and climbing, well on its way to becoming yet another staple song in the careers of these two incredibly talented singer-songwriters.
Taste of Country recently sat down with Montgomery Gentry to discuss the past few years, the transition between labels and albums, and the music that thrown them back into the game.
What was your vision going into making the 'Rebels on the Run' album?
Eddie Montgomery: We wanted to make an album like back in the day when you listen to all the Alabama stuff or Bob Seger stuff ... you just put it in, and you just listen to it all the way down on repeat. I can't wait for everybody to hear it. We're so excited.
This is your first project with your new label, Average Joe's Entertainment. Was it a pretty easy transition working with them?
Montgomery: We love Average Joe's. They told us, "Man, Eddie ... T, you guys go in and make a Montgomery Gentry album and bring it to us." We worked with [producer] Michael Knox, and it was like going back when we made our first CD, 'Tattoos and Scars.' We were so exited because it was driven.
Troy Gentry: This time, too, because of the transition from Sony to Average Joe's, we had a lot of time to go out and dig and find great songs. We weren't rushed to put something together this time. Like the 'Tattoos and Scars' album, we had the time to go down and find every single track that we wanted to cut. I think the freshness of being in a new home and a new producer and being able to find every single song that we wanted to sing, it made it that much more enjoyable. That was refreshing.
The entire album has that Montgomery Gentry feel.
Montgomery: That's what we wanted to hear [laughs]!
Gentry: That's because Average Joe's let us be us. They let us go find our music to record. On the other albums, there were so many hands in the batter. We had everybody trying to pitch us songs and trying to get us to cut these songs. We lost focus on who Montgomery Gentry was. Average Joe's gave us that freedom to find it again. It's been awesome to work with them and Michael Knox to create again a Montgomery Gentry sounding record.
I think that is evident in the album's first single, 'Where I Come From.' Many people say that it sounds like classic Montgomery Gentry. What does that song mean to you guys?
Montgomery: We've always sung about the every day people, whether you're going to school or working their ass off 60 hours a week, and you get a paycheck and half of it's already gone. I think 'Where I Come From' is kind of like 'My Town,' [but] with a little more attitude.
Gentry: I think anybody who listens to this song, it will make them think of their hometown or where they grew up. It will make them think back to their younger days. I think it's a song that everybody can identify with. It makes them think.
Talk about the motorcycle giveaway that is happening in conjunction with the album's release.
Gentry: We have a motorcycle giveaway with Demented Cycles. One lucky winner who buys the album will get a Montgomery Gentry themed motorcycle. [Click here for all the details.]
Montgomery: They'll be able to take it on the road somewhere and go riding with us!
On the new album, the two of you were involved with writing three of the songs. Did you purposely try to look for outside songs to record this time around?
Gentry: We've always written for all the albums, it was just whether or not our songs stood up to the final tally ... if it made the last cut or not. Eddie and I love to write songs, and we wish we were writers who could write their whole album like some of these artists in town. We're not that kind of writers. We're not going to subject our album to a lower standard just because we want to put one of our songs on there. There are talented writers all over Nashville. You never know where you are going to find a great song or where they are going to come from. We want the best possible tracks and the best possible sounds that we could find for each individual album.
In what ways has your songwriting evolved over the years?
Gentry: I think it's getting better. The more we put ourselves around the skilled writers that are here in town and get to know the writers [by] hanging out with them more and getting to write more, that has definitely sharpened our skills a little bit.
Montgomery: It's not that we didn't know how to write before, but we've learned how to put a song together and structure it. We've always known what we wanted to say. I know for me, I would have never have gone to college if it weren't for the four years in high school [laughs]. There are guys who want to be artists, and that's what they do. Then there are songwriters who write four or five songs a day.
Gentry: And we've definitely been around long enough to have the life experiences to have stuff to write about [laughs]!
Have you been working many of the new songs into your live shows yet?
Gentry: We've been doing three songs. We have about half of the record worked up, so we're excited about getting them all into our shows next year. We'll start playing a lot more of the songs live then.
In November, you guys are hosting your Country on the Beach benefit for the TJ Martell Foundation, also featuring LoCash Cowboys and Ray Scott.
Gentry: It's the weekend before Thanksgiving in November in Porta Vallerta.
Montgomery: Come on out and hang with us.
Gentry: This is our third year for the event. We played the year before last, were off last year, and we're playing it again this year. It will be a good time for a great cause.
What do you guys have in store for next year?
Gentry: Same ol', same ol' ... just hitting the road. Eddie and I don't discriminate against stages [laughs]. Anybody who will have us, we will get up and sing! Wherever they put us, we'll get out and sing.
Montgomery: And I tell you, what's been so great about it, is we do have a hardcore friends-base out there. Wherever we play, they come out, man. They come and hang out. We get the ones who we're getting to know more and more that we've see at so many shows, usually they'll be back on the bus having a drink with us or something [after the shows]. It's fun because they're starting to count the shows. We've got some who have been to 50-something shows. You love to see that. It's unreal. I'm just glad for radio and everybody else ... all of our friends calling into radio saying they want to hear some MG stuff.
It was great because we had a program director here just a couple of weeks ago say, "What's different about y'all's music is even though you haven't had anything [new] out in the last couple of years, your other music is just that timeless." I couldn't thank him enough for a compliment like that, because that's what you want. I know that I still love to hear Waylon and Merle stuff. It gives us longevity. That's what we started out to be. In 20 years from now, we know when we walk into a honky tonk, we're going to see Waylon and Willie and Charlie Daniels and Bob Seger [on the jukebox]. If our name is in the middle of that somewhere, that would be awesome because I'm telling you right now ... I think there are a lot of artists who will not be on a jukebox in 20 years with some of the stuff they play.
Watch the Montgomery Gentry 'Where I Come From' Video