Montgomery Gentry - Here's To You (Review)
This is a tough review to write. When I received my copy of Montgomery Gentry's latest album, Here's To You, a couple of weeks ago, I was ecstatic. Montgomery Gentry was one of the first bands to really get me addicted to country music. To be able to listen to an album of a duo I love ahead of time was a perk I never imagined from starting this website. Troy Gentry's untimely passing in September of last year, just days after finishing recording the album, hit me hard. However, I knew I couldn't let Troy Gentry's passing or my love for Montgomery Gentry affect my opinion of their latest album.
That being said, this album is not bad. Montgomery Gentry has always had their sound, for better and for worse. They have always been undoubtedly country. Other than promoting the atrocious rap duo the Lacs and singing on one of their tracks, Montgomery Gentry has refused to change their sound to match the fads of today, for the most part.
Their refusal to change and evolve, not that anyone says they have to, leads to a somewhat dated album that could have surely taken over the airwaves as their old songs did in the mid 2000s. On the few songs they try to show that they're "with the times," they sound like bro-country wannabes. The songs What'cha Say We Don't and Get Down South sound like they're attempting to do their best Luke Bryan's I Don't Want this Night to End and Chris Janson's Fix a Drink impersonations, respectively. If it weren't for the existence of Jerrod Niemann's One More Drinkin' Song, I wouldn't have shaken my head when Drink Along Song came up on my first play through. Unlike the previous two I mentioned, Drink Along Song is actually a genuinely country song and, despite it's dumb message, isn't as sinful as them.
Looking past those two mediocre steps into bro and pop country and one dumb one, I caught myself enjoying each song, even the just okay song Shotgun Wedding. When reading the track listing, if Montgomery Gentry wasn't a duo that I've loved for the better part of a decade, I would've rolled my eyes and moved onto the next album without giving it a chance. But when you look past the track titles, songs like Needing a Beer really stand out. It isn't a "aw man my day has been tough, I need a drink" song that we have heard a thousand times over. It is an original song about lifting a glass to the men and women fighting and slaving away for all of us to live our lives comfortably. They are ones who truly need a beer.
That's the Thing About America started off as a song that I thought would be a Toby Keith-esque rootin'-tootiin' rifle shootin' 'MURICA song, but came to have a deeper political, and maybe controversial to some, theme that I turned out to thoroughly enjoy.
That's the thing about America
You can dream or do or say what you wanna
You can write it down if you can back it up
You can burn the flag or be the man who takes the stand
Says "I'll be damned that some bleedin' heart thinks he can tread
Of the thread of the white and the blue and the red"
I don't care which side of the aisle you stand politically, but to say that you have the right in this country to burn our flag takes balls in a country song.
I don't want this review to sound as negative as I've made it seem, because there is a lot of great to say about this album. Better Me, Drive on Home, Crazies Welcome, Feet Back on the Ground, and All Hell Broke Loose are all great songs that deserve their own individual praise. I'm not going to give it, though, because I want you to check them out yourself.
Finally, I can't go without mentioning my favorite track from the album, King of the World. It is their most modern, evolutionary, country song that I've heard. It has a sound that I wouldn't expect from Montgomery Gentry. With the exception of a few laundry list items dropped into the song, the theme of spending the day simply fishing, hanging with your girl, and listening to Merle is a message everyone can relate to.
It's a shame that Montgomery Gentry's tenure comes to an end with an album that doesn't leave the same legacy as the albums Some People Change and Back When I Knew it All, but it could have ended much worse by trying to conform to the sound of what plagues the radio these days.
Here's to You is now available.