Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry have spent 17 years making trades as a country duo, every one of them a winner.
For recording their music, Montgomery Gentry – the final Horry County Fair headliner concert, at 7:30 p.m Saturday at Myrtle Beach Speedway – the men long ago found their formula for splitting lead vocals, evenly and alternating in each song for the best fit.
Gentry, calling Monday from home in Nashville, Tenn., spoke of how spreading out their voices has worked. It shows on such hits as “My Town,” “Something to Be Proud Of,” “Some People Change” and “Where I Come From.”
Frequently, Gentry said, Montgomery sings the verses, “and I take the choruses because of the register jumping a little bit.”
“When it comes to choruses,” Gentry said, “I have a little higher range than Eddie does.”
Also enjoying his turn starting out hits including “Hillbilly Shoes,” “If You Every Stop Loving Me,” “Hell Yeah” and “Gone,” Gentry said their combination of voices has let them put together their own “unique sound and style that easily identified” by listeners.
The music video for “My Town,” filmed in Lexington, Ky., paid homage not only to the duo’s roots and sense of community from their childhood. Montgomery Gentry also put a stamp on the opportunity for everyone to remember his or her hometown.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re from,” Gentry said. “People’s lives change, with jobs that take them to different parts of the country. Regardless of where you move, … you always embraced your home town where you grew up. Lexington will always be my home town, ... and now Nashville is kind of my secondary hometown.”
Recording “My Town” and reiterating that comfort and feeling to which many people can relate in mind and heart, Gentry said, “brought that much more pride to us to associate the video along with it.”
Much of Montgomery Gentry’s music centers on values and American pride, extending way off stage for recognition and raising more awareness of service personnel and veterans, and farmers.
“Eddie and I grew up around all that,” Gentry said, “and the guys we looked up to when playing in clubs – Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, the Charlie Daniels Band, Allman Brothers, and Lynyrd Skynyrd – they were singing all those songs of the working class, and on the ups and downs of everyday life. It bled over to us. … It was the stuff we were living around and we identified with. When you put out songs with that same kind of emotion, people on the other end can believe you’re proof of it.”
Just as everyone copes with weathering curve balls that life throws, Gentry said that conversing with fans through the years, he and Montgomery appreciate hearing how some of their hit records helped lift people’s spirits.
“We hear lots of times from where they struggled with illness or a death in the family,” Gentry said, “and at homecomings for our our military. We hear all those different stories how the music was uplifting ... and how a song ‘helped me pull through this’ ... . It’s good to come home and know we touch people that way.”
Montgomery’s younger brother, John Michael Montgomery, broke onto the scene in the early 1990s with such ballads as “Life’s A Dance,” “I Swear” and “I Love the Way Love Me,” and kicked things up with “Be My Baby Tonight” and “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident).” Gentry said he and Eddie Montgomery did “about a half-dozen shows with him last year,” and they enjoy crossing paths for charity benefits such as for Wounded Warrior Project and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Playing community festivals and fairs, Montgomery Gentry fit right in everywhere pretty easily.
“We’re very fortunate that people embrace us when come to their towns,” Gentry said of their “blessing” shared. “Everybody is very hospitable to us, and they make us feel at home in their towns.”
Asked about Montgomery’s trademark for microphone stand twirling – as he displays with perfection and smiles in music videos – Gentry laughed about past moments that tested bandmates’ reflexes and gave his own guitars their own split-second moments in withstanding airborne physics.
“We’ve had a couple of microphones go right off the end of the mic stand,” Gentry said, “but nobody was in direct shot of that.”
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 843-444-1764.
If you go
WHAT: Horry County Fair
WHEN: Daily through Sunday
WHERE: Myrtle Beach Speedway, 455 Hospitality Lane, off U.S. 501, about three miles north of Myrtle Beach, and just past S.C. 31.
HOW MUCH: Daily admission (not including rides) – $5 ages 5-64; $3 ages 65 and older, and anyone with military ID; and free ages 4 and younger.
PARKING: Free on site, with overflow availability nearby at Tanger Outlet Center.
FAIR GATES OPEN:
▪ 5-10 p.m. daily through Thursday.
▪ Noon-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
▪ For final day, Sunday, 10 a.m. until closing.
THEMES/SPECIAL EVENTS PER DAY:
▪ “College Night,” Thursday, with free admission with college ID; $10 and wristbands for unlimited rides; $2 draft beer special 5-7 p.m.; and corn hole tourney 7 p.m.
▪ “Student Day,” Friday, with free admission until 5 p.m. for students ages 17 and younger; and $25 ride wristbands.
▪ “Family Fun Day,” April 23, with free admission until 5 p.m. with proof of hospitality employment; and $25 ride wristbands.
▪ “Food Drive/Crowning of Miss Horry County Fair 2016” – Bring canned food donation for discounts of $2 from general admission for ages 5-64, and $1 off for seniors, military, and ages 4 and younger; beauty pageant 1:30 p.m.; and $25 ride wristbands.
HEADLINER CONCERTS: 7:30 p.m., with separate tickets (with respective general admission and “VIP Gold Circle” rates listed, before applicable sales tax and processing fees) in addition to fair admission. Also, amphitheater concert gates open one hour before show:
▪ Huey Lewis and the News, Friday. $30 or $50.
▪ Montgomery Gentry (Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry), Saturday. $25 or $45.
ALSO: Robinson’s Racing Pigs and Paddling Porkers in races, 6 and 8 p.m. daily, and adding 2 and 4 p.m. for Friday-Sunday.
ALSO, COMING TO SPEEDWAY:
▪ 3 Doors Down, 8 p.m. May 5, for $30 or $50.
▪ Fitth annual Summerland Tour, with Sugar Ray, Everclear, Lit, and Sponge, July 15. Prices forthcoming.
INFORMATION: 843-236-0500 or www.myrtlebeachspeedway.com/hcfair/