We are so excited to have these awesome NATIONAL artists join us: Chris Janson, Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Tyler Rich at our 2nd annual Vicki’s Camp N Country Jam lineup!!!
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“Live legacy in the making” (Rolling Stone) Chris Janson is a platinum-selling recording artist, celebrated entertainer, multi-instrumentalist and award-winning singer/songwriter. The ACM Award-winner has collected prestigious accolades that place him amongst country music greats. Both his inspiring hit “Drunk Girl” and his chart-topping, 3x Platinum smash “Buy Me A Boat” were named among NSAI’s “Ten Songs I Wish I’d Written” lists – making Janson one in a handful of the industry’s most elite artists to earn the title multiple times. “Buy Me A Boat” was also recognized as the iHeartRadio Music Awards Country Song of the Year. “Good Vibes,” the flagship single from his 2019 album Real Friends, and follow-up “Done” each topped the country charts, bringing his total of No. 1 songs to four – and the hit-maker is entering a new chapter with his fourth studio album All In, out now. The fully loaded 16-track project finds Janson demonstrating the range of his artistry, featuring all-star collaborations with Eric Church and Travis Tritt. The album’s “blazing, high-octane” (MusicRow) opening track “Keys to the Country” is now playing on country radio. In addition to his own successes, the talented songwriter has lent his pen to industry peers including Tim McGraw (“Truck Yeah,” “How I’ll Always Be”), LOCASH (“I Love This Life”) and the legendary Hank Williams Jr. (“God Fearin’ Man,” “Those Days Are Gone”). With more than seven billion airplay impressions to date and nearly two billion career streams, Janson is, more than ever, All In.
You might catch Eddie Montgomery taking a quick glance at an empty space beside him when he and The Wild Bunch take the stage to play the expected duet hits as well as tunes from his brand-new and mostly raucous solo debut “Ain’t No Closing Me Down.”
By tragic circumstance a solo artist, Eddie always feels the presence of Troy Gentry, his honky-tonking partner back to the days they played for beer or a chunk of flesh at a pig roast near their eastern Kentucky roots.
“I think he’ll have a blast with it, man,” says Eddie of his late partner. “I think he’s a part of it already. I’m sure he’ll be with me.”
The man who is always “with” Eddie on stage and immersed in the soul of his first solo album is his long-time partner, Troy Gentry, who died Sept. 8, 2017, in a helicopter crash that could have put a tragic end to Montgomery Gentry sound. Except Eddie made a promise that the MG sound would go on: Which, at its heart, is what this new album is all about.
Rowdily honed in honky-tonks and at parties in their Kentucky homeland, Montgomery Gentry rocked to stardom in 1999 with propulsive collection “Tattoos & Scars.” Over the next 18 years, the duo had 20-plus charted singles, collected CMA, ACM and Grammy nominations and awards with such unsubtle, blue-collar rallying cries as “Hell Yeah,” “My Town” and the irrepressible “Hillbilly Shoes.”
Their No. 1s included “If You Ever Stop Loving Me,” “Something to be Proud Of,” “Lucky Man,” “Back When I Knew It All” and “Roll With Me.” Grand Ole Opry members since 2009, MG also belong to the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, where they join the likes of Bill Monroe, Tom T. Hall, Skeeter Davis, Lionel Hampton and Eddie’s brother, John Michael Montgomery.
The last name on that list – “John Boy,” as Eddie refers to his brother – was with the other two young men when they tore up roadhouses and pig roasts, following the career path carved out by the Montgomery boys’ dad and his outfit, “Harold Montgomery and Whatever You Wanted To Call It.” The heart of that outfit: Harold on guitar and mom, Snookie, on drums. “Me and John Boy were roadies,” says Eddie. “We seen a lotta things in honky-tonks…. The bartenders were our babysitters, and we moved around a lot. I must’ve had my mid-life crisis by the time I was 8.”
“I’m happy where I’m at.” And part of the reason for that happiness is that he always has his best friend to lean on: “Troy is always with me. He helped me write this album with my heart and soul.” Eddie continues describing how this new album was birthed after he knew it was time to go on as the M without the G. “I was just wanting to wait until it felt right for me, and when it come to me in my heart, with Troy and myself.
“Ain’t a day goes by that I don’t think of him,” he says. “We made a promise, a deal, way back when. It was over Jim Beam. It was: If one of us goes down, we want Montgomery Gentry to go on. Keep the music going. We were a honky-tonk band, and he’s with me, and he’s always going to be.” He smiles. “We were together so much, we finished each other’s sentences and everything,” a brotherhood that remains in his solo billing: “It’s always going to be ‘Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry.’”
In fact, The Wild Bunch – the outfit that rode the range with MG for years — provides accompaniment with this album, a change from the past, when Eddie says Music Row session players would be called in.
It is both a tribute to his late friend as well as the sonic bridge for the guy who hopes to carry this legacy well into the future. “I wanted to showcase our band. I wanted music that’s real and in your face.”
Even though he was fulfilling a promise to Troy, Eddie took a year off after the accident to ponder how and if he’d carry on. The COVID pandemic gave him an extra year-and-a-half. With the help of some of Nashville’s best honky-tonk-flavored writers, he has fashioned an album that is both a tribute to the past and a rowdy reach into the future. “I wanted to comfort my soul and have the greatest writers help me put it together.”
Much of the soul-salvation can be found in the song, “Alive and Well.”
“It’s pretty much my life,” he says of the song that salutes his best friend as well as two sons who are gone. “One died quite a few years ago. I lost my other son a year before, the same month as Troy. September is not my favorite month.” While it is a farewell, it also is a promise to keep going, the promise he delivers in the rest of the album. “When I wrote that song, it helped my heart. It helped me a little bit, I reckon, to heal the wounds. But the scar is always there.”
The promise to keep on going is proclaimed in full MG-style in the first cut, “Ain’t No Closing Me Down,” a rock-driven dose of barroom braggadocio that sprung from his holing up at home located on the outskirts of a golf course during the pandemic. “After the corona hit, I got a bunch of grills and stuff. I pulled my truck out of the garage. I was puttin’ up TVs, got a PA in my garage. I got one of those glass, commercial refrigerators in there. And people started coming to the house.”
While the world was shut down, Eddie welcomed all comers. Nobody was closin’ him down. Golfers would climb off the course to visit, joining other friends from miles around. “I’d always be grilling. They’d come up and grab a hamburger or some ribs, a Jim Beam and a beer.”
Some songs offer even more hope, like “Ain’t She Beautiful,” which isn’t about his “smokin’-hot wife,” but rather about the nation he cherishes. John Boy’s son, Walker Montgomery, wrote that one, and Uncle Eddie happily recorded it. “It was a great honor for me to cut my nephew’s song. I don’t think I coulda wrote it any better. I love this country. It’s the greatest country on earth. I love our great American heroes. I don’t care who decides to try to destroy it, it’s going to keep on going, because it’s the only place you can decide what you want to do, who you want to be.”
Other songs include “Higher,” a duet with Tanya Tucker: “What an honor, singing with Miss Tanya. When I hear it, I don’t even listen to me singing, I listen to her.” “That’s the Kinda Man I Am” is about attitudes and beliefs inherited, sometimes by force, from his mom and dad. “I believe in the man upstairs, and I believe in our freedoms,” he says, adding the most painful lessons were in learning how to do the right thing. “You did something wrong, you got your ass busted by a belt. One of the hardest things I ever hit in my life was Mama’s backhand.”
“My Son” is a cautionary tale he co-wrote with producer Noah Gordon for the soundtrack of a movie called “Old Henry,” a bit of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid fantasy. But the song means a lot more to Eddie, the father who lost two sons. “A lot of it is going back into my soul. I taught them how to live. Taught them that some of the stuff I chased, I probably shouldn’t have. Like my old man said ‘Son, do as I say, don’t do as I do.’”
And there are plenty of fun songs, like “Play That Game,” inspired by honky-tonk mating dances he witnesses from the stage. “Kickin’ It Up” and “Sounds Like a Tuesday” join the ranks of lighthearted songs.
His familiar voice breaks a bit when talking about “She Just Loves Me,” both a thank you and a love note to his wife, Jen Jen, and her devotion. “It’s the first love song I’ve ever written. I’m in love with her. She’s been there to pick me up when I felt down. I can’t say enough about her.” In fact, she was the first one to hear the rough version, after Eddie made an acoustic demo and took it up to the house. He didn’t want to sing it to her, because “I wasn’t for sure I could get through it, singing in front of her.” So, he played her the demo and “It freaked her out.”
It was enough of a reason for celebration that they went to the club and did – as they rarely do – “act like teenagers.” “Now it takes me two days to recover,” he says. “My daddy always told me that would happen.”
The man with the thick, honky-tonk voice and hell-raising reputation, the same fellow who salutes the death of his best friend in this album, admits that things change when a guy ages. “I’m more into staying home and piddling in my garden and stuff.”
Still, after he parks the garden rake and dons that wide-brimmed black hat, straps on a guitar and climbs onstage with The Wild Bunch, “it’s kind of like old times.” Except T Roy is missing. Or is he? “He’s right there on stage, every time I hit it. He’ll always be there.
“I like writing about everyday life: The good, the bad, the ugly and the party on the weekend. We know life has got a bunch of ups and downs. Stuff’s gonna happen, or you can keep your ass up on the porch. ‘‘Me and T Roy, we always lived life. You live life and make sure you do, ’cause it won’t be here tomorrow.”
Many veteran bands trade on nostalgia, on replication of past glories, and on recycled emotions
from younger, more carefree days.
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band trades on a mix of reimagined classics and compelling newer works.
The group formed in 1966 as a Long Beach, California jug band, scored its first charting single
in 1967, and embarked on a self-propelled ride through folk, country, rock ‘n’ roll, pop, bluegrass,
and the amalgam now known as “Americana.” The first major hit came in 1971 with the
epic “Mr. Bojangles,” which, along with insistent support from banjo master Earl Scruggs,
opened doors in Nashville. Behind those doors were Earl Scruggs, Roy Acuff, Doc Watson,
Mother Maybelle Carter, Jimmy Martin, and others who would collaborate on a multi-artist,
multi-generational, three-disc 1972 masterpiece: Will the Circle Be Unbroken went triple Platinum,
spawned two later volumes, and wound up in the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Was this a cutting-edge combo or a group of revivalists? Was the goal rebellion or musical
piety? Yes, to all these things. In the 1980s, the Dirt Band reeled off 15 straight Top 10 country
hits, including chart-toppers “Long Hard Road (The Sharecropper’s Dream),” “Modern Day
Romance,” and “Fishin’ in the Dark (co-written by Jim Photoglo, who would join the band in
the second decade of the new century). 1989 brought a second Circle album, this one featuring
singer-songwriter talents including John Prine, Rosanne Cash, and John Hiatt and garnering
two Grammy awards for the band (it later won another, for a collaboration with Earl Scruggs
and other fine folks). Circle II also won the Country Music Association’s Album of the Year
prize. Circle III was released in 2003, featuring collaborations with Johnny Cash, Dwight
Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, Taj Mahal, and more.
Throughout the group’s lifetime, personnel has changed, with each change resulting in positive
steps forward, new ways of playing the old songs, and renewed enthusiasm for writing and
recording fresh material. The latest Dirt Band lineup is expanded to six members for the first
time since 1968. Today’s group consists of founding member Jeff Hanna, harp master Jimmie
Fadden (who joined in 1966), and soulful-voiced Bob Carpenter, who has more than 40 years of
service in the ensemble. Those veterans are now joined by singer-songwriter-bass man Jim
Photoglo, fiddle and mandolin wizard Ross Holmes, and Hanna’s son, the preternaturally talented
singer and guitarist Jaime Hanna.
Blood harmony, thrilling instrumental flights, undeniable stage chemistry … these things are
part of each Dirt Band show, just as they are part of Dirt Does Dylan, the first recording from
the reconfigured, six-strong group. Produced by Ray Kennedy and Jeff Hanna, it’s a remarkable
ride through some of the most impactful songs of the past century, penned by Bob Dylan
and taken for a blue highway spin by a great American band, with help from genius-level contemporary
artists like Jason Isbell and The War and Treaty.
A Dirt Band show is unlike any other. For legions of fans, it’s less about the memories than the
moment, crisp as an Autumn apple and rich as a royal flush.
Northern California-raised, Nashville-rooted Tyler Rich found his love of music gathered around a Christmas tree alongside family singing holiday classics and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Fast forward to graduating college with a degree in Economics, Tyler moved to LA to pursue a different game of numbers – music – exploring various genres with songwriting and bands before taking the leap as a solo artist. Since, he has been named a 2018 CMT Listen Up artist, 2019 Pandora Artist and Rolling Stone touted him as “the newest member of country music’s radio-minded incoming class, with a homecoming king’s swagger and a valedictorian’s songwriting smarts.” Amassing over 394.4M+ total global streams with his debut album TWO THOUSAND MILES (The Valory Music Co.), featuring GOLD-certified “The Difference,” plus subsequent releases “Better Than You’re Used To” and The Cadillac Three’s Jaren Johnston-produced “A Little Bit of You.” With “Thinkin’ We’re In Love,” an English and French duet with one of Canada’s most successful bilingual singer-songwriters, Marie-Mai, Tyler has announced a headline tour of the same name.
Tickets are on sale now for his headline THINKIN’ WE’RE IN LOVE TOUR at tylerrich.com. His music embodies the feelings all people have in common – the need for acceptance, devotion and a place to call their own – and that empathetic spirit extends to animals too. With Rich Rescues, Tyler visits local shelters while out on the road to raise awareness for pet adoption. Follow on Instagram and TikTok.