“I always make a joke about it,” the 54-year-old Montgomery Gentry star tells Taste of Country, “but hell, my mom was a drummer, my dad was a guitar player and the bartenders were our babysitters!” “And of course T-Roy’s dad owned a bar. It’s the only thing we’ve ever known,” he adds, smiling. Yes, Eddie Montgomery is smiling again, and laughing! Talking about his late bandmate, a man he called a brother for nearly 35 years, is therapy, he says. Sharing the old stories, playing the old music and revealing the new music (Montgomery Gentry’s Here’s to You album drops Feb. 2) is part of the healing after seeing Gentry die in a helicopter crash last September. “Hell, you can’t think about T and not laugh,” Montgomery insists. “He kept that big spoon with him all the time. A big wooden spoon, because he liked stirring stuff up, boys!” During live shows the band kept a talk-back microphone onstage so they could communicate with each other without the crowd being wise to it. Montgomery recalls many times he’d be singing one of the duo’s more poignant hits like “Lucky Man” and Gentry would say something unrepeatable into the secret microphone.
“You’re trying to be all serious and going, ‘What in the hell is he talking about?'” Montgomery says.
During Part 1 of this two-part interview, Montgomery talked about the emotional devastation of the crash and how he very much doubted his band’s future until he recalled a conversation he and Gentry had years ago, and both men had insisted the other keep moving forward should something happen. When he takes the stage with his band this spring and summer, that’s what Montgomery will do. The band and crowd will help him fill Gentry’s shoes, but there will always be a microphone up there for his friend, his brother.
“Hell, sometimes I’ll be out there singing a song and go ‘You know what, I’m sure he’d be going, ‘Eddie, you missed that,'” he says, letting loose with one of those big, tumbling grizzly bear laughs. It’s heartwarming to hear after all he’s been through. Divorce, cancer, the death of a son and now the death of his bandmate — Montgomery’s Twitter handle is @LuckyManEddie, which as the years pass becomes more and more ironic. “I never question the man upstairs in my life and I’m not gonna start now,” he says when asked about it all. One song, one show and one interview at a time, Montgomery is moving forward with his a nationwide Montgomery Gentry family. The truth is that the smiles outnumber the tears caused by one single tragedy. That’s the message he’ll preach in the coming weeks and months.
“Let your gentleness be obvious to everyone. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5
We don’t hear much talk about gentleness these days. We do however hear far more about toughening up, sucking it up and never letting them see you sweat. What does gentleness really mean? Society has pared gentleness with weakness and in so doing we often miss the beauty and strength found in the gentleness of Jesus Christ. To be gentle is to have a temperament that exudes kindness, tenderness, compassion, and a calm presence. It is not harsh or severe in actions. Jesus, by His kind and quiet nature, set an example of gentleness. Sure there were times that Jesus exhibited zeal and righteous indignation. We see this in Matthew 21:12-13.
Jesus’ ministry centered on the calling and drawing of people to Himself, through forbearance and gentleness. In Paul’s letter to Titus, he instructs Titus “Remind the believers to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient and ready for every good work, to malign no one, and to be peaceable and gentle, showing full consideration to everyone. (Titus 3:1-2).
Jesus calls us to learn from Him, the Master of gentleness. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29). Jesus gives us a place of rest where we can learn from Him and obtain godly wisdom for living life. In man’s pursuit of wisdom however the lines can become blurred. James 3:17 clarifies this for us,”But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy.” There’s the word again; gentle. Gentleness is not a vice but rather a virtue. It is named among the fruits of the Spirit, “gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:23).
Our Lord Himself is gracious and gentle and aren’t you glad He is? Jesus comes to us in power, yes, but also in love and gentleness. Look at the action/reaction in Philippians 4:5: Action: Let your gentleness be obvious to everyone. Reaction: People will see that “The Lord is near.” Never underestimate the power of gentleness and its ability to point others to the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Gentleness brings unity and power, not weakness. “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:1-2). Do not fear showing gentleness to others. Remember, you are in good company.
make me more like You. Let my heart be gentle,
my words graced with kindness and my life be a witness to Your faithfulness and lovingkindness,
in Jesus’ Name, amen.