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John Michael Montgomery - Time Flies
Review By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

When Eddie Montgomery was country shuffling in his hillbilly shoes, singing about knowing it all back then, brother John Michael would’ve just smiled. After all, Eddie and Troy (Montgomery Gentry) were treading into familiar territory; a region John Michael had helped shape years ago, when he was riding high with his own chart-toppers.

For John Michael Montgomery, the hat-wearing crooner from Kentucky, there’s little to be envious of, little to long for chart-wise, as it’s a case of been there and done that. And he surely has. All in all, JMM has delivered up over 30 singles to the Billboard Country Singles Chart. The albums, the sales, the tours, all add to a polished career that began in 1992.

For the honky-tonker best known for his stirring and thoughtful ballads, JMM has over the journey offered up some memorable cuts. Tracks like the million-selling “Life’s A Dance”, “I Love The Way You Love Me”, the chart-climber “I Swear” and the radio hit “Letters From Home” all showcase a talent who’s ridden the popularity wave and maintained a presence long after many have sunk into turntable obscurity.

Now with the release of his latest album, Time Flies, an album he co-produced with Byron Gallimore, the versatile Montgomery is poised for an overdue return. Out on own label, Stringtown, and released this week, the album is an 11 track array of what JMM does with ease and style.

The first radio single, “Mad Cowboy Disease”, a rockin’ controversy that drew criticism over its insensitivity to use lyrics so aligned to a farming catastrophe is here. Pass on that cut and the rest of the album is fine-tuned, delivering with a range of tear-jerking fare, rockin’ Saturday night kick-backs and the odd slice of humor.

First: the humor. “With My Shirt On” is a chuckle involving memories of taut bodies, distant locations and a time when youthful looks came naturally. Now with the passing of time comes hang and spread, so our hero, to his dismay, finds out. His ladylove is still a 10 but our ego sensitive hero is 20lbs heavier and somewhere long lost to his perfect prime. His passion is high, his interest intact, but tonight, given the circumstances, he wants to make love with his shirt on. You get the message and humor, I’m sure.

Somber moments, and there are a few, come with the standout “All In A Day”. The track timelines how quickly life rolls on and by. The tune captures beautifully how, before we even blink, the autumn of our lives is with us. Another standout is the provoking “Drunkard’s Prayer”. The melodic cut tells how a loner and loser “when he gets drunk talks to God”. With its honesty, the honesty found in a truth that drunks don’t lie, the tune is a strong vehicle for Montgomery’s sensitive vocal. Same can be said for the redemptive and strength of finding real purpose and direction, as played out on “Fly On”.

Other standouts include the toe-tappin’ and charged “What Did I Do”, the pain of a moved-on lover, “If You Ever Went Away” and the family etched, “Brothers Till The End”.

Time flies. It sure does. With his new album, John Michael shows that style, voice and feel only get better with its passage.

To order your copy, click here!

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