Montgomery Gentry Tease Early 2015 Release for New Album

Montgomery Gentry, 2014.
Kristin Barlowe

Montgomery Gentry

With "Headlights" giving Montgomery Gentry their first chart appearance since 2012, the duo's Troy Gentry tells Billboard it's good to be back.

"It's been a while, and it's great to hear some Montgomery Gentry back on the radio. We’ve got a new deal with Blaster Records, and we’ve been in the studio with Michael Knox. We’re getting ready to put the final touches on the new album by the end of the year. Hopefully, we’ll have it out for everybody after the first of the year.”

The single finds Eddie Montgomery taking lead on the verses and Gentry singing lead on the chorus. Gentry admits it's a formula they've used before. "It has always worked for us, and it's a case of, 'If it's not broke, don't fix it.' It's just that unique style. When you hear them performed, you know it's a Montgomery Gentry song. That's been a staple of what we've been about and what's worked for us. We're fortunate that Eddie and I are both able to take lead on these songs. We're kind of like ying and yang," Gentry says with a smile.

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2014 marks 15 years since the duo hit the charts with their debut single, "Hillbilly Shoes." Gentry says it feels great to be in the game after such a long career run. "Sometimes it feels like it's only been a few years that we've been in the business, and other times, it feels longer. But when you hear the number, it makes me glad. To me, it means that we've made an impact on country music, and have a style and sound that people have enjoyed. Hopefully, with 'Headlights' and the listeners out there, we'll be able to continue that as long as we want."

That's not the only milestone for Montgomery Gentry in 2014 -- they're celebrating five years as members of the Grand Ole Opry. Eddie Montgomery admits that the Opry distinction means the world to him. "My dad used to tell me that it didn't matter how many awards you got -- until you're a member of the Grand Ole Opry, you haven't made it. Every time I step on that stage, I get butterflies. To see the history of it, it seems like it talks. You can hear it in the walls. It reminds me of growing up as a kid sitting in the car and listening to it on the radio."

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Montgomery went on to say that when Opry GM Pete Fisher invited the duo to become members, the industry changed its perception of Montgomery Gentry. "Once you become a member, everyone looks at you a little differently. It's awesome, but there's really no way to explain it. It's a dream come true, and we were damn lucky to get it."

And, as if the guys needed another accomplishment to celebrate, 2015 will see them get inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. "We grew up in the nightclubs, and his dad owned a bar for years, so to be recognized with your peers from Kentucky is a great feeling. It's got blues, rock, country, pop, and bluegrass -- everything. To be recognized by your home state is awesome."

Since their debut, the duo has placed 16 songs in the Hot Country Songs top 10 -- including five number ones. But Gentry says their career goes deeper than just the radio hits. They consider themselves grateful to have shared the stage and the recording spotlight with many of their heroes.

"When we started, Charlie Daniels came in and recorded 'All Night Long' with us. We were on Never Say Die, Waylon Jennings' last album, performing with him. On the road, we've worked with Hank Williams, Jr., Kris Kristofferson, and Merle Haggard. We've paid tribute to icons like George Jones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Glen Campbell."

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 Montgomery says that the Daniels collaboration and the performance of "(I'm A) Ramblin' Man" with Jennings are career moments the duo will never forget.

"You hear a lot of the new artists coming up, and you hear them talk about artists like Waylon Jennings being among their heroes. As soon as they say his name, it goes through my mind that we were lucky enough to have gotten to do a show with him, to have met him and Miss Jessie. You always want to get to this level, and meet your heroes and pick their minds. We were blessed and lucky to get that done. We got to do that."