Montgomery Genty might very well be feeling a sense of déjà vu these days, as they gear up for the release of their new disc "Rebels On The Run." Troy Gentry says the music pretty much sounds like the "old" Montgomery Gentry, and part of their "new" team at Average Joe's Entertainment is someone from their "old" team from their days at Sony Music - label head Tom Baldrica.
"Tom Baldrica was a big Montgomery Gentry fan over at Sony,' says Gentry. "It's great having him as a part of Average Joe's. Average Joe's is an independent company, but I think that's perfect for Eddie and I right now. We've been out there long enough that we've made our own brand, and people know who we are. Being on an independent label gives us a little more attention than being in the big corporate world. There's not as many artists there, so there's a little bit more focus on the artist from the label."
This year marks a dozen years since the duo first appeared on the Billboard charts with "Hillbilly Shoes," which peaked at No. 13 in the spring months of 1999. Since then, they have racked up fourteen top ten singles on the charts, with four of those going all the way to the top.
Along the way, the duo has gotten to see some of their dreams come true. They have become members of the Grand Ole Opry, and have gotten to perform with some of their heroes such as Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings - performing "I'm A Ramblin' Man" with him on his final album, 2001's Never Say Die.
"A lot of the younger generation will never have that pleasure - depending on who their heroes are," he says with a sense of pride. "For us, Waylon was a big influence on our music who we were very fortunate to perform with, and Johnny Cash. We've also been able to work with Merle Haggard and Charlie Daniels. We have Randy Owen on the new project. We've had the pleasure to be able to work with a lot of the artists that we looked up to and that we covered in the clubs. I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to work with a lot of our mentors."
Owen appears on the track "I Like These People," and Troy says that the legendary Alabama lead singer and member Eddie Montgomery became really close during the session.
"He came in to work on 'I Like These People,' and he and Eddie developed a really close friendship when Eddie got the news that he had prostrate cancer. Randy was an inspiration and very helpful to him during that time, and I got to know him. That was really cool to be able to sing in the studio with him. Watching him for so many years, one of the first Country concerts I went to was an Alabama concert in Lexington, KY at the Civic Center at Rupp Arena. To reflect back on that experience, and then to be in the studio with him, it was something I'll never forget."
The album's first single is one that their longtime fans will be able to identify with - "Where I Come From." Of the tune, currently sitting at No. 38 on the Billboard Country Songs chart. Gentry said 'It's just a song that's about our fans. Regardless of where you end up in life, you always remember your hometown. There are special things you remember in life, and your childhood days and high school years. I think anyone who hears this song will be able to listen to and reflect on their earlier years in life, and the place they grew up, and appreciate the lyrics of the song."
Troy said that while the label move is big for them, and has been one of the most-asked about subjects, the fans don't really keep up with the business side of the music - something for which he is grateful for.
"I think the label status is really insignificant to the crowds, because of the different places and avenues that people are getting their music. I think the crowd - when they come to see a band live, they just want to hear what they expect the artist to sing. For our crowds, because we've always been true to our crowd, I think that's what has made us so successful for so long. They've come to expect a certain thing from us live, and they get it time after time after time."