"His old man was a rebel yeller, bad boy to the bone/ he'd say can't trust that other fellow, he'd judge him by the tone of his skin/ he was raised to think like his dad/ with a mind full of hate/ on the road to nowhere fast / till the Grace of God got in the way/ and he saw the light." - Some People Change - Eddie Montgomery-Troy Gentry

Turbo tonking duo Montgomery Gentry fuelled a recent encounter with a not so wild bear to catalyse sales of huge selling fifth album Some People Change (Sony-BMG.)

It started when Troy Lee Gentry went hunting bears - not in the wilds of Minnesota - but their hunting guide Lee Marvin Greenly's enclosure on October 13, 2004.

Gentry, 39, shot Cubby - a tame, trophy-calibre captive-reared black bear - the largest bruin used by Greenly in his wildlife photography business.

But Gentry was trapped when he faked the locale in post hunting paper work.

It cost plenty - a $15,000 fine, no hunting, fishing and trapping in Minnesota for five years, and forfeiture of the bear's hide and bow used to shoot the animal.

It's not clear if the bear hunt video was designed for one of the duo's clips.

Greenly, 46, pleaded guilty to charges of helping hunters shoot bears at illegal baiting stations inside a national wildlife refuge near Sandstone in east-central Minnesota.

Gentry told the court he bought Cubby from Greenly so they would videotape a hunt inside his enclosure, surrounded by an electric fence.

"Lee and I made a deal about harvesting this bear," Gentry testified.

They also agreed to report it was killed in the wild six miles east of Sandstone instead of on Greenly's property south of the town.


Gentry may have emulated hunting and musical mentor Hank Williams Jr, but unlike Bocephus, he didn't capture wild game.

I would hate to draw musical parallels - Montgomery Gentry has resurrected the sonic soundscape Hank ignited from the mid-seventies.

The duo wrote four of 12 tracks but seem, ah tame, compared to Bocephus.

Eddie Montgomery, brother of Kentucky chart topper John Michael, wrote Clouds with former Boy Howdy tunesmith Jeffrey Steele.

"My dad died of cancer in '94, and I had a 3-year-old son killed in an auto accident in '91," Montgomery, 45, revealed.

"I never had talked about them and said I never would write a song about them until it came to me naturally."

It did on the front porch of Steele's house.

He saw an airplane pass over, and as he gazed at the sky, the lyrics came to him.
"I ran inside and told Jeffrey the lyrics, and he did a great melody. We wrote it in five to eight minutes," Montgomery recalled.

"I wrote it for me. I didn't want to cut the song. I didn't want to put it on the album. I was going to pitch it to a Mary J. Blige-type singer. But the label and everyone said 'You've got to put it down.'"


It has a gospel feel like Brooks & Dunn's hit Believe, with Montgomery singing over piano: "I swear sometimes I can almost see your face somewhere up there in the clouds."

Takes All Kinds celebrates diversity, with "Yeah, it'd be a shame if we walked and we talked and we thought the same. That's just not what He had in mind. Know it takes all kinds."

The bear-hunter, whose summary justice included a second knee reconstruction from a horse fall last year, agreed.

"I think in the past our records have been more third-person," Gentry said.

"We were singing in third-person of blue-collar workers, military and families. This is first-person and we're talking more about our family values, religion. They're funny songs, but they're funny songs about our upbringing."

The title track deals with breaking family legacies of bigotry and alcoholism - Your Tears Are Coming is a harmonica-drenched romp.

Cubby surfaced on their New York interview with syndicated radio and TV host Don Imus - Manhattan mouthpiece for singing Texan crime novelist Kinky Friedman.

Veteran Nashville columnist and cheerleader for the seventies outlaws - Hazel Smith - even arose early to catch the duo in the seat warmed by The Kinkster so many times in his pre and post Gubernatorial campaign.

top / back to diary