Montgomery Gentry

Tattoos & Scars

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With all of the comparisons to Southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, Charlie Daniels, the Outlaws, and so forth, this solid, hardcore rockin' honky tonk duo and their amazing band is an entity unto themselves. Eddie Montgomery (brother of John Michael) and Troy Gentry are equal parts country music that comes from Merle Haggard, George Jones, Wynn Stewart, Dwight Yoakam, and even Hank Williams. At the same time, they play a scorching brand of rock & roll that has everything to do with the aforementioned heroes of the 1970s and the Allmans too because the blues are at the root of everything they do. This is an auspicious debut album, one that not only shows promise, but delivers the goods in the form of great songs written by a host of Nash Vegas' and Texas' finest -- if unknown new breed -- and absolutely tremendous performances. Check the hard rocking opener, "Hillbilly Shoes," with its flatpicking guitar intro supplanted by overdriven fiddles and screaming dual lead guitars. And "Trying to Survive" with its guitar, pedal steel, and piano fills is reminiscent of the feel, not sound, of Tucker's "Can't You See." It's easy to embrace Tim McGraw and a host of others who use rock & roll as way of framing their country music, but Montgomery Gentry don't use rock; they are a rock band who make country music, real country music. Check the gorgeous chorus on "Lonely and Gone" that is commenced with a heavy metal guitar intro only to become a gorgeous mid-tempo ballad. Other tracks, like "Self-Made Man," are pure modern honky tonk. Vocally, the harmonies between this pair are a perfect balance of beer and fine whiskey. Montgomery's rough hewn baritone and Gentry's almost unreal range and trademark phrasing make something highly original in the face of so much cookie-cutter Nash Vegas big-hatted crap. The funky blues on "Daddy Won't Sell the Farm" with those fiddles and pedal steels wrapping around a greasy keyboard line lead into a rebel Southern son's admiration for a man and a way of life that is quickly disappearing. The drums propel the tune forward, and the guitars fill what little space there is with rollin' and tumblin' blues. The Bakerfield honky tonk of "I've Loved a Lot More Than I've Hurt" is as traditional as it gets, and Jones or Yoakam could have cut it. The title track is a great morality tale, and "Trouble Is" is a Gentry showcase with his singing tenor in the hillbilly groove that is equal parts blues, tonkin' stride, and arena rock. Montgomery Gentry should be nothing less than amazing in a few years if they keep this up, because this is solid, ass-kickin' country-rock. This is one of the best pop records of the year. Period.

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