He will bring his show to Monticello on Thursday, August 9, where fair fans can sing along in what has become one of the highlights of summer in San Juan County.
John Michael Montgomery has turned an uncanny ability to relate to fans into one of country music’s most storied careers.
Behind the string of hit records, the roomful of awards and the critical and fan accolades that have defined his phenomenal success lies a connection that goes beyond his undeniable talent and his proven knack for picking hits.
Since the days when “Life’s A Dance” turned him from an unknown quantity into a national star, John Michael’s rich baritone has carried that most important of assets–believability. Few artists in any genre sing with more heart than this handsome Kentucky-born artist.
It is readily apparent in love songs that have helped set the standard for a generation. Songs like “I Swear,” “I Love the Way You Love Me” and “I Can Love You Like That” still resonate across the landscape–pop icon and country newcomer Jessica Simpson cited “I Love The Way You Love Me” as an influence in a recent interview.
It is apparent in the 2004 hit “Letters From Home,” one of the most moving tributes to the connection between soldiers and their families ever recorded, and in “The Little Girl,” a tale of redemption that plumbs both the harrowing and the uplifting.
It is apparent even in the pure fun that has always found its way into John Michael’s repertoire–songs like “Be My Baby Tonight” and “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident),” where John Michael’s vocal earnestness takes musical whimsy to another level.
Now, with the release of Time Flies, which he co-produced with Byron Gallimore, John Michael takes another big step forward, strengthening his position as one of the most versatile and compelling vocalists on the country scene.
With songs like “Forever” and “If You Ever Went Away,” he proves he is still the master of the power ballad, a man capable of bringing honest emotion to life in song. He brings his ever-present sense of humor to bear on “With My Shirt On” and “Mad Cowboy Disease,” songs with wickedly skewed sensibilities.
John Michael celebrates the family background that led both him and his brother Eddie, of Montgomery Gentry, from a small-time family band to the top of the charts.
“It seems like yesterday that ‘Life’s A Dance’ was out and people were asking me, ‘Where would you like to be in 10 or 15 years?’ ‘Still here!’ was my answer and, thankfully, I am still here. Longevity was more important to me than anything else, and to still be able to do something I love so much is wonderful,” says Montgomery.
John Michael has founded his own label–Stringtown Records, named for a hamlet near his Kentucky home. He is one of a handful of long-established stars able to take the next step and become label executives as well as artists. Now that he has launched Time Flies, he is looking to expand Stringtown’s reach.
“I’ll continue making records for myself,” he says, “but I’d also love to find other artists to produce, hoping I can open some doors and make some dreams come true like mine did. I love finding hit records and producing them, and I see that down the road for myself.”
He has always had an extraordinarily close relationship with his fans, and they have stayed with him through good and bad times. “You get to know your fans and what they like more and more through the years,” he says, “and you kind of gravitate towards one another.”
Asked what he thinks gave him the edge in a career that calls millions but gives stardom to just a few, he pauses, then thinks back to the legacy of his parents. “I reckon it was good genes and good blood,” he says with a smile.
The concert will be held at the San Juan County Fairgrounds in Monticello on August 9 beginning at 7:30 p.m. with opening act Artie Hemphill and the Iron Horse Band.
Tickets can be purchased at the San Juan Record Bookstore or Wayside Inn in Monticello, BCL Distributing in Blanding, Western Image in Moab or call (435) 587-2277.
For a complete list of fair info, visit www.sanjuancountyfair.com