Texan singer/songwriter Monty Holmes love of traditional country music was instilled in him as a child. Growing up in Lubbock, his grandfather (who played fiddle, guitar, and piano) exposed him to his record collection and artists like Jimmie Rodgers. As a young adult, Holmes formed a band and moved to Austin, where he recorded the song "In the Arms of a Beautiful Woman" and earned a regional hit. From there, it was on to Nashville and work as a staff songwriter and singer on demo recordings. Through his demo work, Holmes quickly gained a reputation for his voice. He penned several songs for George Strait, including "I Know That She Still Loves Me" and the Top Ten "When Did You Stop Loving Me," as well as "What I Do The Best" for John Michael Montgomery and "Never Again, Again" for Lee Ann Womack. Holmes signed a deal as an artist with upstart label Bang II and issued his debut All I Ever Wanted in 1998. When the label folded, Holmes joined forces with a group of seasoned road and studio players including drummer Jeff Hale, bass player Charlie Harrison, and guitarist Billy Hillman in the honky tonk outfit the Pythons. The group released Real Thing in 2002 to positive notices.