Montgomery Gentry Take Pride in Greatest Hits Album

Eddie Montgomery Downplays Duo's Hard-Living, Hard-Drinking Image

The two principals of Montgomery Gentry are always good for a conversational jolt or two. So it’s only moderately surprising when Eddie Montgomery, who’s called from Albuquerque, N.M., to discuss the duo’s new greatest hits album, ends up talking about shooting a music video in Iceland.

But first the album: Titled Something to Be Proud Of: The Best of 1999-2005, the collection embraces 10 certified hits, a selection from the We Were Soldiers film soundtrack, a raucous Christmas ditty and the current single, “She Don’t Tell Me To.” Wednesday (Nov. 30) in Nashville, the duo will celebrate the success of the song that inspired the greatest hits package — the chart-topping “Something to Be Proud Of,” written by Jeffrey Steele and Chris Wallin.

Montgomery, who routinely relieves Troy Gentry from the burdens of interviewing, chuckles when it’s suggested that “She Don’t Tell Me To” sounds a lot like a sequel to the previous hit, “She Couldn’t Change Me.” Both songs depict an essentially good woman coming to terms with a loving but iron-willed man. The subtext of each is that Montgomery Gentry don’t hold with men being henpecked.

As Montgomery remembers it, he and Troy (or “T,” as he calls him) loved “She Don’t Tell Me To” from the start.

“Rivers Rutherford came in, and he was playing us some songs that he’d written,” Montgomery says. “He had his guitar with him, and he said, ‘I just started this song last night, and all I’ve got is just like a first verse to it.’ He played it for us, and we just went, ‘Oh, my gosh. You have got to get this song finished. We want it.’

“So we took the song right there — even before he had it finished. When we heard the finished product he brought to us, we were just blown away. It just freaked us out. We definitely — me and T — want to send it out to our wives. For sure. We’ve been very, very blessed because they have let us pursue our music career, even back when we were playing the honky-tonks and owed the bar money at the end of the week. They stayed behind and pushed us to get on through our dream.”

The two were in Albuquerque on a tour that never seems to end. “We’re very busy, but that’s the way we like it,” says Montgomery. “It keeps us out of trouble.” Already, they’re planning next year’s circuit, and while there are loads of details to be nailed down, Montgomery says he’s fairly certain that they’ll again be working with Jim Beam as a major tour sponsor.

They are also hard at work on their next studio album, having already cut several songs. “As soon as we get our touring done, we’re going to go right back into the studio and listen to some more songs and try to get the album out by the beginning of the year.” As in albums past, several producers are working on the project, including Rutherford, Steele and Mark Wright.

Montgomery says he and Gentry have no difficulty squaring their hard-living, hard-drinking image with that of being solid family men who set good examples for their kids.

“A lot of that

, you know, gets completely blown out of proportion,” he insists. “We like to live life. Our dads and our grandfathers and grandmothers taught us that life is very, very short and that you’d better love and enjoy every minute of it. We’re going to teach our kids the same things. There are responsibilities for the things that you do. We don’t want to hide anything from them. We want them to know what this world is about. … We’re going to teach our kids to grow up and go after that American dream.”

So how did the American dream get transported to Iceland for the “She Don’t Tell Me To” video? “Deb Haus [Sony Records' vice president of creative services] was talking about [possible] places and scenery,” says Montgomery. “She went and scouted over in Iceland and showed us some pictures — some movie tracks — of it. Man, it was unbelievable how pretty it was. The pictures don’t even do it justice. It’s absolutely gorgeous. They tried to teach us some Icelandic, but we couldn’t learn it. … It was just unreal from the minute we landed how friendly everyone was. They completely went out of their way to do anything they could do for us.”

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