Eddie Montgomery was snowbound in Kentucky, but Troy Gentry popped into Nashville’s BMI headquarters Wednesday (Jan. 28) to toast Clint Daniels and Tommy Karlas for co-writing Montgomery Gentry’s latest No. 1 single, “Roll With Me.”
Speaking with reporters before the party began, Gentry noted that “Roll With Me” was the duo’s fifth No. 1 and its first back-to-back chart-topper. He said the melody of the song attracted him before he “got into the lyrics.”
This is Montgomery Gentry’s 10th year on the charts. (Their first hit was “Hillbilly Shoes” in 1999.) Gentry observed that they had been able to establish a strong identity among fans early without scoring a lot of No. 1’s.
He pointed out that “Daddy Won’t Sell The Farm,” the 1999-2000 single that went only to No. 17, continues to be one of their most requested songs. “Integrity of the lyrics,” he added, has always been the keystone in selecting songs to record.
In their shows, Montgomery has made it a trademark to pick up his microphone stand and carry it about the stage, sometimes thrusting and whirling it. Asked if this ever posed a danger, Gentry chuckled and conceded that it had. “I’ve gone home with dings in my guitars — and bruises,” he said.
The duo’s next milestone, according to Gentry, is to join the Grand Ole Opry. “It would be a great honor,” he continued. “It’s kind of an elite club.”
Becoming an Opry member is especially important to Montgomery, Gentry told the reporters, noting, “It was Eddie’s dad’s dream to play the Opry.” (Harold Montgomery, Eddie and John Michael Montgomery’s late father, was also a country singer.)
“Every time we have a Montgomery Gentry party, it brings out all the happy people,” said BMI’s Jody Williams when he called the crowd to order to hand out awards for the success of “Roll With Me.”
Indeed, cheerful well-wishers virtually overflowed BMI’s enormous reception area where the party was held.
Because so many people crash its No. 1 soirees, BMI has lately taken to posting a sign at the door proclaiming that the event taking place is private and accessible by invitation only. For this party, it also stationed clerks with RSVP lists at the entrance to discourage drop-ins.
Williams announced that “Roll With Me” was Daniels’ second No. 1 single, his first having been Joe Nichols’ “Brokenheartsville” in 2003.
A native of Panama City, Fla., Daniels was briefly signed as an artist to Arista Records in the late ’90s. There he charted two singles, “A Fool’s Progress” and “When I Grow Up,” neither of which cracked the Top 40. In 2003, he charted a single for the Epic label, “The Letter (Almost Home),” which peaked at No. 56. He has since focused on songwriting.
Although not a BMI songwriter, Karlas was on hand to share the limelight with Daniels. ASCAP, Karlas’ performance rights organization, celebrated his success earlier in the day.
Gentry told the partygoers he felt like he was in “middle management” when it came to the music business because he stood somewhere between the writers who create the songs and the record promoters who get them played on radio.
Daniels thanked his publishing company, Sony ATV Music, for letting its songwriters “lay our woes out on the table” in lyrical form.
“We songwriters like to bitch a lot,” he added.