The Fourth of July goes hand in hand with freedom, fireworks and - for sure – country music.
Montgomery Gentry has been one such country music entity that has headlined quite a few July 4 concerts, treating its fans to gritty, real heart-felt tunes mixed in with some memorable patriotic songs.
Eddie Montgomery, the surviving founder of the act, will headline the Freedom Fest in Fort Lewis, Washington, tomorrow night, July 4. Montgomery has been carrying forward the duo’s tradition since the death of Troy Gentry in a helicopter crash in September 2017.
Montgomery Gentry is one of the best-known and most-honored groups that will be playing the upcoming Lynchburg Music Fest.
The Lynchburg show, set for Aug. 23-24, will be held on two main stages with a third smaller stage and feature 40 acts, headlined by Easton Corbin and Jamey Johnson. But Montgomery Gentry is bringing the buzz to the outdoor affair as much as any other act. Part of the appeal is its sometimes fun, sometimes forlorn, everyman approach to music.
Montgomery Gentry doesn’t have a signature red, white and blue song like Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” but they’ve got quite a few with depth about the American way of life: “Roll With Me,” “Something To Be Proud Of” and “Where I Came From.”
And another take on patriotism, perhaps not as overt, is “That’s The Thing About America,” from 2018’s Here’s to You.
“That’s The Thing About America,” written by Craig Wiseman, Jeffrey Steele and Shane Minor, allows that we’ve all got the right to our expressions, and urges respect of our diversity in a divisive time.
“Wanna know what Uncle Joe thinks
We ought to take 'em tanks and guns
And bombs and load 'em planes
And get them boys and girls on home
That gets my dad mad, boiling red
Revved up vein poppin' outta his head
Sayin' you pull out now, you shame the ones
Who fought and bled and came home dead
For your right to gripe, left to right
Then momma shouts, boys hush your mouth
Grab a plate and bow your heads
And be thankful when the grace is said 'cause
That's the thing about America
You can dream or do or say what you wanna
You can run it down if you can back it up
You can burn the flag or be the man
Who takes a stand, says I'll be damned
If some bleedin' heart thinks he can tread
On the thread of the white, and the blue, and the red
That's the thing about America”
“I love exactly what it says and it’s so true,” Montgomery has said of the song’s message. “To me music heals all and I’d love to find that song that heals this country tomorrow. Maybe this is it.”
The band played the Middle East for the first time in 2006 as part of a USO tour, playing music and visiting with soldiers. They were able to travel to visit troops in Kuwait, Iraq and Germany as part of a USO tour.
"I don't know Democrat or Republican," Montgomery said then. "But I know I love this country. I'm named after my great-uncle, who was one of the first Marines killed on Iwo Jima, and I just think we need to give country back to the people.
He released a seven-song EP just last month called Outskirts. It was recorded prior to Gentry’s death and incorporates songs left over from Here's to You.
Montgomery said they are "some of our favorite songs that we wanted to do."
"You'll love the music on it. It's the best I've heard T sing from beginning to end," Montgomery told Taste of Country Nights. At first, Montgomery admits, he wasn't sure what to do with the leftover songs featuring the man he calls “T-Roy” but, "we just kinda talked about it, all of us, and said, 'Let's do this.'"
What’s in the future? Montgomery said his mother would like to see him and his brother John Michael Murphy record a CD; maybe he will do a gospel album; maybe a solo project.
But mostly, he said, he’s keep on rolling for his Kentucky soul brother and the long-loyal and loving fans he prefers to call “friends.”
“I’m going to try to keep his legacy alive.”
Montgomery Gentry is on the Lynchburg Music Fest Saturday lineup with Jamey Johnson, RaeLynn and David Lee Murphy.
Find tickets and more information online at lynchburgmusicfest.com.