Here’s To You is the duo’s final album after Troy Gentry’s death at age 50
Montgomery Gentry should be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018, but instead, Eddie Montgomery is paying tribute to his fallen comrade Troy Gentry with their ninth studio album, Here’s To You. The project arrives five months after Gentry’s tragic death on September 8, 2017 from a freak helicopter accident. The duo had finished recording the 12 track project two days before Gentry’s death. Eddie Montgomery has dedicated the album’s title to Gentry and the fans as he recalls the fun they had together recording it.
“It’s probably the greatest album we’ve done since Tattoos & Scars,” says Montgomery of the project. “Coming up on our 20th anniversary we wanted to put out a killer album. We hunted and hunted for the right songs. In the studio we were feeling really loose. It was just beautiful and a lot of fun.”
The album’s first single, “Better Me,” is a real-life representation of where Gentry was with his faith and family. “When Troy heard ‘Better Me’ he said, ‘I really want to sing this song, Eddie’,” Montgomery recalls. “I said, ‘Have at it, brother.” The song, written by Jamie Moore, Josh Hoge and Randy Montana, fittingly debuted at Gentry’s celebration of life at the Grand Ole Opry House.
Here’s To You has a more mature sound than their previous eight releases. It incorporates modern production techniques, such as pop loops, but still contains the duo’s signature sound. A heavy banjo presence is heard throughout which is welcoming. Part southern rock, part country pop, Here’s To You brings a mixture of emotions with softer tones than previous efforts. The duo continues to sing about the working class, unsung heroes, redemption and country life in songs such as “Needing A Beer,” “Crazies Welcomed,” and “Feet Back On The Ground.”
Much like “Better Me,” Gentry’s lead on “Drive On Home” is an eerie reflection on his life. Gentry sings, “I wonder if I’ll still be here working the same job in a year / Alone some night I pour a beer and think about all the things I can’t control / My boss, the bills and growing old / I pray to God that down the road it will all work out.” The song is a powerful country pop ballad that could be a single. It made me stop in my tracks, nearly making me teary-eyed knowing I’ll never hear Gentry’s voice the same way again!
Overall, the album is one of their best, despite it being sonically different from the others. While we all wish we were hearing it under different circumstances, we can all play it loud and proud in honor of Gentry. Montgomery will tour behind the project with his bandmates sharing Gentry’s parts. Guests can expect to hear their greatest hits mixed with anticipated Here’s To You tracks during the expedition. Support Alabama on some dates and headlining others, the can’t-miss tour crisscrossing the country wraps in Ventura, CA, at Boots and Brews on September 15th.
In the meantime, Montgomery will return to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry tonight (Fri, Feb 2nd) before heading to New York for appearances Tuesday, February 6th on Fox & Friends, SiriusXM’s Freewheelin’, Fox 411, Fox News Radio’s A Few Moments With…, Nash FM’s Stage 17, followed by Good Day New York and People.Com’s “People Now” on Wednesday, February 7th.