Album Review: Montgomery Gentry’s ‘Here’s To You’
The release of Montgomery Gentry’s Here’s To You is a special one for many reasons, as it celebrates what makes the duo one of the most beloved acts in country music while honoring the legacy of the late Troy Gentry through quality songs, heartfelt lyrics and well-crafted music.
Here’s To You is undeniably Montgomery Gentry that fans will undoubtedly love, mixing their signature country sound with tried and true topics that celebrate small towns, unsung heroes and the spirit of America. Recorded before Troy Gentry’s untimely death in 2017, the album delivers the best of the duo and is perhaps their most diverse album yet.
One gift Montgomery Gentry has always possessed is the ability to put the underdogs of the world front and center in their music and Here’s To You does that effectively. The singers lift a glass to the underappreciated heroes on “Needing a Beer,” honoring mothers, fathers, soldiers, teachers, doctors and all the other humble souls making a difference in the world. “Feet Back on the Ground” may very well make you tear up with its sincere appreciation of mothers as told through the eyes of a man returning home to spend valued time with the woman he loves most, grounding himself from a hectic life to listen to her stories.
“Better Me” is an irreplaceable song in the duo’s catalogue and is one fans are sure to cherish. A song about trying to become a better version of yourself is such a fitting one for Gentry to take lead vocals on, as the song proves his spirit is alive as he bravely tells us that while he may not always be perfect, he is willing to do hard work on himself to become who he wants to be.
And perfection is something the duo has never pretended to try to attain; in fact, they tend to embrace imperfection, like on “Crazies Welcome.” “Bring on the sinners now” they beg in the midst of all the “pretty” and “perfect in the world,” longing for the “the truthers, their broken hearts are music to my ears,” calling out to the sinners and bottles of lightning, those who’ve lost their way and brave souls unafraid to share their pain.
“All Hello Broke Loose” is Eddie Montgomery’s “Better Me,” giving him a moment to shine as he thanks the woman who blessed his life with her love and positive influence. “Til I heard you call my name / Saw you reaching through the flames / With one touch you broke these chains,” he sings with conviction, closing out the album in a thoughtful and honest way.
At the core of every Montgomery Gentry album is people. While they always put blue collar, hard-working people at the center, Here’s To You represents all walks of life. Though the album wasn’t recorded as a tribute to Gentry, its release certainly is. This collection of worthy songs make it feel like he still walks among us, as you can feel his presence even beyond the music. It’s the pure sincerity he exhibits on “Better Me,” the strength in his voice on all 12 songs and the marriage of his spirit with the music’s that makes it feel not that he’s gone, but very much present.