Hell Yeah! Montgomery Gentry Go Platinum

Whiskey and Compliments Flow During My Town Celebration

To see photos from the party, visit Montgomery Gentry’s artist page.

There was a distinct nip in the air as guests arrived at the BMI building on Music Row Tuesday (March 30) for Montgomery Gentry’s platinum party. But more than enough nipping awaited them to counteract the late afternoon chill.

Just inside the front door, bartenders oiled the party machine with generous shots of Jim Beam whiskey, the elixir that sponsors MG’s tours. The bar itself was strewn with hundreds of guitar-shaped Jim Beam key chains for the taking during the event celebrating the duo’s My Town album, which now has more than 1 million copies in the sales pipeline.

While waiting for the presentations to get underway, Troy Gentry hoisted his daughter, Kaylee, into his arms and held her there for friends to admire. Black-clad Eddie Montgomery waded into the crowd, hugging left and right and looking like an Amish farmer on spring break. Buddy Jewell, who had his own gold album party in the same quarters a week earlier, circulated through the well-wishers, stopping here and there for a chat or a photo.

“Once again, the weather didn’t cooperate with us,” BMI’s C. Paul Corbin told the gathering when he opened the ceremonies. He explained he had wanted to hold the celebration on the building’s sixth-floor balcony (which overlooks downtown Nashville) but that the elements had ruled otherwise. High winds also kept Jewell’s party from being staged there.

“We could really get used to this,” said Sony Nashville president John Grady. “We could get used to having an awards ceremony every Tuesday.

“This business is harder than it’s ever been,” Grady continued, noting that no one sells platinum without the best efforts of everyone involved. Beginning with signing an act and selecting its producer, Grady led the crowd through each step of creating, launching and promoting an album. As he did so, he named specific Sony employees who had helped give My Town its momentum. He also recognized former Sony officials –including Blake Chancey, Jack Lameier and Mike Kraski — for their part in making Montgomery Gentry a bestselling act before he took over the label last year. Prior to relinquishing the microphone, Grady proclaimed, “Pardon my French, but [selling] a million records is a big f**kin’ deal.”

“These are the two biggest party guys in country music today,” said Ed Benson, executive director of the Country Music Association, as he handed Montgomery and Gentry certificates of achievement. Benson reminded the crowd that country music has a long and distinguished history of celebrating life’s wilder side. Grady returned and with great ceremony presented the two performers gift cards to Bass Pro Shops.

Clearly moved by the praise being lavished on them, Gentry said, “This plaque [for the platinum album] is up here because of what all of you have done for us. … You are the life of the party, and you bring the life out of us.” Stunned by his partner’s eloquence, Montgomery chimed in, “I wish to hell I’d talked first. … I promise you all [that] we’re going to work our asses off.” He thanked Sony for having the courage to release the raucous single, “Hell Yeah.” “I love it when you ain’t scared, baby,” he roared. “Let’s rock this world!”

Then, with shots of Jim Beam held high, the hard-driving duo stood side by side and faced the cameras. With Grady and Corbin returning to the stage, they then raised their glasses and took a big swig.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.