In music, artists are on a constant search to find their forever creative partners. Mick Jagger has Keith Richards. Jimmy Page has Robert Plant. Paul McCartney had John Lennon.
In country music, Montgomery Gentry‘s Eddie Montgomery had Troy Gentry. In a new interview with People, Montgomery said he lost a piece of his soul when Gentry died in a helicopter crash before a show in New Jersey on Sept. 8.
“It was a horrific day,” Montgomery said. “My world changed as much as the band did. It’s something that you never get over. It’s going to be in my mind and my soul for the rest of my life.”
Days before Gentry’s death, the duo was in the studio putting on the finishing touches of a new album, Here’s To You. Now, Montgomery has decided to tour that album (out Feb. 2) as a solo act under the Montgomery Gentry name.
“Me and T, we’ve known each other longer than we’ve known our wives,” Montgomery told People. “Nashville didn’t put this duo together, we did. We were friends before we were ever in the music business.
“I’ve never done anything else but play music. It’s all I’ve ever known.”
Montgomery says his wife Jennifer and the country music community have helped him cope with his grief following the loss of his musical partner. Vince Gill, who delivered a moving eulogy at the Sept. 14 memorial service at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, encouraged him not to quit.
“He told me: ‘Man, don’t shut down on us. The best way to keep Troy alive is to keep going.’
“He was more than just a singer,” Montomgery said of Gentry. “He was a brother, and he was always there. As far as I’m concerned, we’re still making music together.”
The first release from Here’s To You is “Better Me.”
“It’s probably the best I’ve heard him sing,” Montgomery said of Troy’s performance on the song.