The guys of Montgomery Gentry crank up the music, peel out on new wheels and get ready for a new baby!
Story by David Scarlett
It's more important to have passion for what you do than to get rich - always," declares Eddie Montgomery. "I think this whole country - everybody - needs to be more passionate about what they're doing. Our forefathers and mothers all took pride in what they done, whether it was makin' clothes or farmin' or whatever. And some of that's missin'."
"Some of it?" chimes in buddy Troy Gentry. "A lot of it's missin'."
Troy and Eddie are kicking back on their tour bus. Passion may be in short supply elsewhere, but in the world of Montgomery Gentry, it's alive and well.
And why not? They've got a successful career, yet another CMA Duo of the Year nomination, a powerful new album (My Town), a hit single with the album's title cut and, in Troy's case, a new daughter due in mid-December.
"Got one comin' on December 12," Troy smiles. "Angie and I got married on December 14, and we're hopin' to separate the two dates, cause it'd be kinda hard to run an anniversary and a birthday on the same day."
The father of nearly-9-year-old Taylor, his daughter from a previous marriage who lives with her mother in Kentucky, Troy's looking forward to having another girl, whom he and his wife have already named Kaylee Alexandra.
"Angie and I are gonna take birth classes together later on this year when Eddie and I start slowin' down off the road," says Troy. "And the furniture's already been taken care of. Bedding's almost been taken care of. Got the colors picked out for the room. Just gotta find somebody to come over and paint it!"
But what about the changing and the feeding?
"Oh, yeah," he laughs. "That's the fun, the best part about bein' a parent - raisin' and feedin'."
A disbelieving Eddie chimes in. "Remember he said that!" he bellows.
Eddie's got some serious parenting experience himself, with kids ranging from age 18 down to 6. "If I'd had my 6-year-old, Hunter, first," he laughs, "there probably wouldn't have been no more! I'll tell ya, he's something else. I wouldn't take nothin' for him, though.
"He has no fear - whatsoever. He's got a four-wheeler and he's rolled it a couple of times. He's ready to rock at all times. He's all boy, I can tell you."
Just like his daddy, who has a new four-wheeler of his own - and is having a blast with it. "Oh yeah," grins Eddie. "I got a new four-wheel-drive John Deere tractor with a bucket on it. I use it on my farm."
"He goes down to the store to get groceries in it!" laughs Troy. "Loads the bucket up!"
"You know," continues Eddie, the son of a Kentucky farmer, "I can get out there and ride on that tractor all day long. I know it probably drives my wife nuts sometimes. But I'll get out there and I'll just bush hog every field, and if I've bush hogged it already, I'll just bush hog it again!
"It's therapeutic," he continues. "And it feels good at the end of the day to look back and see what you've done. It feels unbelievable. Course now I have the option to bush hog for a while, then stop and fish for a while. I couldn't do that growin' up!"
Not to be outdone by his partner, Troy has some new wheels of his own. "I've had a lifelong passion for Corvettes," he confesses. "It's always been a dream car of mine."
And, appropriately, the one he finally bought is a black convertible. "I'm a big Batman fan," he smiles. "You know the Batmobile being black on black and everything. The similarities finally hit me and I said, 'When I'm finally able to get one, I'm gonna get an all-black convertible.' "
"He can outrun me," laughs Eddie, "but I can out pull him! Probably get about the same miles per gallon with my tractor, too!"
It's obvious that both Eddie and Troy love their new wheels, and it's also obvious that family is a top priority for each of them.
But they know the music they started playing together years ago in their native Kentucky is what enables them to provide for their families - so they never take it for granted, never "settle."
"I think our new album is our best yet," proclaims Troy. "Eddie and I try to do that every time we do anything, whether it's walkin' on a stage or walkin' in the studio, we try to better our performance."
And it shows.
My Town features a new producer, a new band and some of the best tunes they've ever done, including a vintage Allman Brothers song, "Good Clean Fun." And the album's going over as well with live audiences as the new single is with radio.
"We're doing four or five of the new songs live now," explains Eddie. "And, of course, one of the biggest ones is probably 'Hell Yeah.' "
"It's unbelievable," adds Troy, "but after a verse and a chorus, the audiences are right there cheerin' and singin' it back to us."
In some instances, those audiences have been enormous.
"I can't remember the venue," declares Troy. "I think it was in South Carolina. But we set an attendance record. And the last group to set that record was Lonestar when they were out with 'Amazed' and everything else. And we went there this year and set another attendance record. That's doin' something."
"And then Fourth of July," recalls Eddie, "we played our home state, in Louisville. They were expecting maybe 40,000 people, and ended up with over 100,000. It freaked us out as much as it freaked them out. It was unbelievable. It was awesome - and very, very special."
The only thing the boys think would top the impact of those crowds would be for My Town to be their biggest album ever.
"I'd like to see this album just skyrocket," admits Troy. "Sell multiplatinum. Start having some No. 1s."
Eddie totally agrees.
"Shoot, if you're gonna dream, buddy, dream big," he declares. "That's what my old man always said. He'd say, 'Hell, reach for the whole thing. Play on Mars, baby.'
"That's what I'd like to do!"