Montgomery Gentry are gearing up to release their new seven-track EP Outskirts, out June 14. Recorded prior to Troy Gentry’s death in the fall of 2017, the EP includes a stunning cover of Merle Haggard’s 1983 hit “What Am I Gonna Do (With the Rest of My Life),” which Billboard premieres exclusively below.
The heartbreaking ballad features Eddie Montgomery on lead vocals. The song’s stark production includes delicate percussion and soaring pedal-steel accompaniment, further allowing Haggard’s poignant lyrics and the emotion felt in Montgomery’s vocals to shine.
The song was recorded in the studio ahead of Gentry’s death in a helicopter accident in September 2017.
“Our friends have been asking for new music, so I’m glad to get this out for them,” Montgomery tells Billboard. “We had so much fun in the studio cutting these songs. T-Roy’s vocals just smoked it. I don’t think he ever sounded better.”
He adds, “We wanted to record something that we played in the honky-tonks when we first started out so we each did a cover. Growing up, I heard Merle Haggard’s songs in my ear every night. I always loved ‘What Am I Gonna Do (With the Rest of My Life)’ and so many other hits that he sang. There’s not a better singer, songwriter or performer than Haggard.”
The EP also includes a cover of Darrell Scott’s “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” with lead vocals and lyrics amended by Gentry to reflect his own family, and the Steve Vai-assisted “King of the World.” Outskirts marks the follow-up to the duo’s 2018 album Here’s to You and features joint vocals from Gentry and Montgomery.
Hear Montgomery Gentry’s “What Am I Gonna Do (With the Rest of My Life)”: