The recent winter weather in Tennessee took a toll on many of country music’s top performers, including Montgomery Gentry‘s Troy Gentry. “We got a pretty good chunk of it,” he tells Billboard. “We ended up with about 2 inches of solid ice down where we’re located south of Nashville and had a little bit of snow accumulation on top of that.”
But the performer didn’t get snowed in to his Tennessee home; he got snowed out. “Actually, we had a show in Florida that weekend and ended up getting iced out and couldn’t get back home, so we hung out in Florida,” he says with a smile.
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The duo are very upbeat right now due to the release of their new single “Folks Like Us,” written by Ash Bowers, Neal Coty and Adam Craig. “It’s what you might expect to hear out of Montgomery Gentry,” Gentry said. “It’s a song about American society and making ends meet. It’s about being patriotic and showing your faith and the love of family. It’s one of those blue-collar songs that we’ve been known for doing for so long.”
Sometimes, giving your fans what they expect is a good thing, Gentry said. “I think it’s real important. Our fanbase and radio listeners out there recognize when our music comes on the radio wherever they may hear our music. I think it’s very identifiable, and it’s what has made us unique and kept us in the game for as long as we’ve been around. We’re just a little bit slightly different of what everybody else is doing.” However, that’s not to say they don’t try to mix it up occasionally, but it always comes back to the core. “Every now and then, we might try to change things up — musically and stuff, or when someone from the record label or management wanted to do something different. It always has come back to us that our audience wants us to do what Montgomery Gentry does best — and that’s singing to the hard-core, patriotic, blue-collar workers out here that work hard.”
Troy and Eddie have finished their upcoming album (which will be their first in four years) and are hoping to have the record in the hands of fans this summer. “As of right now, we’re getting such good response with the single that we’re going to wait and let it breathe at radio for a little while before we release the record — which tentatively is going to be in June sometime.”
Billboard caught up with Gentry in the middle of the Country Radio Seminar, which is always a highlight of the year for the duo. “When Eddie [Montgomery] and I first came out, we made so many friends doing our radio tour, so it was always a pleasure for us when all the guys came to town, so we could get down there and shake hands and thank everybody for supporting Montgomery Gentry and playing our music.”
Next up for the duo: A tour. “Eddie and I are road dogs. We love traveling and playing live. We try to stay as busy as we can, and thanks to all the folks at CAA, they do a real good job at keeping us working.”
And if there’s a television tuned into a Kentucky basketball game over the next couple of months backstage, Gentry might sneak a peek to see how his alma mater is doing. “I went to UK for a while and have been proud to follow them and all the success they are having in their undefeated season. I don’t want to jinx them or anything, but they’ve got a really good team and do a fantastic job. I’m enjoying watching them play ball.”
Having a coach like John Calipari doesn’t hurt in that equation either. “He’s so great at recruiting and getting players to buy into what he does and getting them flipped over to the NBA,” Gentry said. “That’s just his style of coaching, and he’s got such a great ability of doing that so Kentucky continues to be such a desired school to come to for basketball — for not only the school spirit but also the opportunities to go to the next level.”