Country Music People October 2017 - Page 63

N ashville was in shock, Sept. 8, upon learning of the deaths of vocalists Troy Gentry (MontgomeryGentry) and veteran singer-songwriter Don Williams. Gentry, 50, died in a helicopter crash early that afternoon, along with the pilot James Evan Robinson, in Medford, N.J. The crash has since been attributed to engine failure. Gentry was to perform a concert that night with vocal partner Eddie Montgomery and their band. According to Medford Police Chief Richard Meder, crews removed passenger Gentry from the wreckage, and he was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital; however, crews worked for hours to extricate the pilot from the mangled wreckage. A native of Meigs, Ga., Robinson was a pilot with Flying W Airport’s flight school. Montgomery and Gentry were slated to perform at the Flying A Resort there. Montgomery and bandsmen were at the airport when the crash occurred, prompting the pilot to radio a troubled warning. The helicopter crashed just short of the airport runway, in what was reportedly a woody and swampy site. Montgomery who allegedly has a fear of flying had been invited for a “joy ride,” but declined, while the more adventurous Gentry jumped at the opportunity. An investigation of the chopper crash is being conducted. Gentry, who hails from Lexington, Ky., first became familiar with Eddie’s musical assets when both played in a band with the younger Montgomery brother: John Michael & Young Country. According to Eddie, he and John first played in their dad Harold’s band Kentucky River Express, and then the siblings started a group labelled Early Tymz, adapted from a whiskey name. Later, along came Gentry to join us, recalled Eddie: “We started right out of high school. I was playing drums, T-Roy (his nickname for Gentry) played acoustic guitar and John was up front.” After John Boy graduated to the big time, Troy and Eddie partnered to play local Lexington bars and other gigs, their sound influenced by their Southern rock heroes Charlie Daniels, Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. They became regulars at clubs such as Austin City Saloon and The Grapevine, the latter club once owned by Gentry. “We just came up thru the ranks that way and everybody supported us,” Eddie recalled, adding, Troy left the act to try first as a solo and got top spot in a Jim Beam Whiskey talent contest in ’94, but that sort of fizzled out and he drifted back to Eddie and their vocal duo Deuce. Together, after three years playing the Kentucky club circuit, they attracted attention of Sony/Columbia Records and their first charting proved a success: Hillbilly Shoes (#13, 1999). It was quickly followed by Lonely And Gone (#5, 1999) and the Top 20 Daddy Won’t Sell The Farm, all on their debut album Tattoos & Scars, which sold over a million (Platinum), marking a nice start. Early awards were the American Music Awards trophy for favourite new country act; Academy of Country Music’s top new duo statuette; and in 2000, CMA voted M/G a best duo awa &B7V'6WVVFǒFRFVFFVBbF( 26VFrffR3F673bRWfW"7FfrR6WFrF&R&VBbV6&6vVWrBB&vFRFV"FW7F7FW&RgVVVBGVW2vW&PvV6VB'&VR6"f2Fǒ2VFFRFBW2FW'fWrv&6vV( ėN( 2vFW&gVFvFW6Rv&G2@F&R&V6v6VB'W"VW'2'WBFRFr2FR66WF6R'FRVRf2vRFF( B7F'BWBFG'Bvv&G2vPFBB&V6W6RvRfRBvRVfpVR6RWBF6VRW2BFB0FVfFVǒFR&vvW7Bv&Bb( Ф&FvW&R&W'2v&VwV&ǒ&FRFV &W2FFRV&RvVVV"7GW&v2BvW&RVFFRFVBWB( v^( fRFPBbg&VG2B6VV6R7&VF&P7W7FF&76W2WBFW&R( 2G&FFVB( ŖV&VrFW&RvF&VVP2FR&W7BfRFƶrFFRWG&VP&W'2F7F'2wW'266FV6W'2@WfW'&GV6RN( 2w&VBfVw6( ФvVG'vVW&FVB6RVF6FVB6W &W72vF266VB7'BbVFrv@GW&VBWBF&R6FfR&6&V"&֖pF&VR7&R&fFR6FRfV&W #b7V'6WVVFǒRVFVBwVGF֗6FVVW"6&vRb&W&ǒFvvpvFƖfRBFRfvr&VFW"VFVv26VFV6VBFF&VRF0&&FCRfRBf&fVGW&R`FRFFW&֖VB&V"B&rW6VBGW&pFR66VBVBV"6G7FR֖f'GVFVǒ7Bf2vW&Rf&vfr`F2BG&6w&VVBF7FVFr֖W6Ff"ffRV'2G&vVG'( 2vVVBw&W( 06V62277VVBFRfvs( ĒrvFWfW'RW&RBfW&vR^( 2FWf7FFVB'FRWw2bG&( 276rW'6ǒFW&R&Rv&G2FW&W72FP6FW72fVVf"G&( 2f֖ǒBf"VFFPFvW'G&v2W6WFFVBW6WFW'6BvBg&VBvPv֗72w&VFǒ( ФFvW'vVG'&R6vVBvFfW&vP^( 2VFW'FVB7BV"B&V6VFǒW@FRf6rFV6W2Wr'Vf"FV7W'ff'26VFRG&( 2vfRFRf&W vR46W&RvRvVBv6W&VFV"FVVFVvFW VSBF"6Bb2&WfW0'&vR5D$U"#r6c