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Album Review: “Back When I Knew It All” by Montgomery Gentry

June 12, 2008

Back When I Knew It All

The southern rock/country duo made up of Troy Gentry and Eddie Montgomery return from the studio with their sixth studio album, Back When I Knew It All. This album’s release kind of snuck up on the country world, but keeps everything MG fans have come to love about their boys intact.

Sporting new looks, Troy with blond streaks and Eddie with a new jacket, the boys return to their southern rock roots to pull off what ends up being a very autobiographical project. Stripped down and minus the tear-jerking ballads of Some People Change the boys lose much of their perfection, but gain a lot in entertainment and re-play quality of the record. The first single, the title track, is in itself a decent tune. It not only breaks ground where songwriters had yet to wander, looking back on the foolishness of thinking you knew it all when you were young, but it’s also catchy and significant in its own way, much like this album as a whole.

From personal tune to party time anthems, the boys cover every aspect of their own personalities in this project. They even go so far as to perform a long overdo duet with fellow honky tonk man Toby Keith. Their duet, “I Pick My Parties” is a tribute to the working man who still enjoys a good time every now and then and finds it hard sometimes to have to deal with the time constraints of a job. There is also the immediate fan favorite “One In Every Crowd” which is a huge shout-out to the wild-man in every bunch, and “Now You’re Talkin’” which provides a nice redneck twist to the old saying. It’s songs like these that make this album entertaining, but there’s more to this project than just the boys party time personalities.

The album also brings in other aspects of their personalities, such as religion. The opening track, “The Big Revival“, and the closing track, “God Knows Who I Am” which features Jypsi singer Lillie Mae Rische, are perfect examples of that. In addition the boys have included a few personal messages in the project as well through “Roll With Me“, inspiring living every day slow and easy, and “It Ain’t About Easy” which explains how life isn’t meant to be a walk in the park through any aspect.

Although many of the songs have probable personal relevance to the lives of the duo, there is a lot to be desired. As possible radio hits many of these songs would seem very forgettable in the ears of the highly critical radio industry today. In addition this album fails to shine to those who purchased it with expectations of the same quality as Some People Change and instead shines to fans and devoted followers that missed the old sound of the duo. While this is a respectable and noble move, it is also very risky when trying to keep up with the declining album sales these days.

So while this album seems to be the most personal album that these guys have put out, it lacks much of the shine and glory they established last time around. That being said, it’s still a very entertaining and respectable project. It is very far from perfection, almost taking them backwards a bit, but it delivers for their fans and allows listeners a look into the more personal and relative aspects of the career these guys have shared sense 1999.

 

312 Stars

 

Produced by Blake Chaney

 

Tracks:

  1. The Big Revival
  2. Long Line Of Losers
  3. Now You’re Talkin’
  4. Back When I Knew It All
  5. Roll With Me
  6. One In Every Croud
  7. Look Some More
  8. I Pick My Parties (featuring Toby Keith)
  9. One Trip
  10. It Ain’t About Easy
  11. God Knows Who I Am (Featuring Lillie Mae Rische of Jypsi)
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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Tony permalink
    June 14, 2008 2:37 pm

    I have to disagree with many of the things you’ve written. First, I believe this to be Montgomery Gentry’s best album – right up there with My Town. Every song is strong and will certainly continue the duo’s streak of consistent top 5 singles on radio. My favorite is hard-rocking Look Some More, followed by smooth melody of Roll With Me.

    You mentioned that people who purchased Some People Change might be disappointed this CD because it sounds different. The fact is that Some People Change, while a decent album, was MG’s lowest-selling record because it stayed too far from their rock sound. Anybody disappointed in Back When I Knew It All’s hard-edged sound will be in the minority because most MG fans will be ecstatic that the party tunes are back and will probably flock to purchase this great album.

  2. cowboybleau permalink*
    June 15, 2008 3:08 am

    Thank you for commenting Tony. I have to say this was among my hardest albums to review because I was shifting from the more sophisticated sound of Some People Change and going backwards. I knew it was a good thing, but it was hard to see an album going backwards and say good things.

    If you recall I only said that those who enjoyed the crtitcally acclaimed album Some People Change for it’s more sophisticated sound would be disapointed. I quote myself saying that the album “keeps everything MG fans have come to love about their boys intact”. I knew fans would love it and I gave you guys do credit. It’s the critics and such that may be a little disapointed. I’m actually looking forward to seeing how this album will fair when it’s not so stripped of its honkey tonk nature and actually brings out the best in the boys. I also gave it credit for how much it actually relates to MG lyrically, and I believe it does.

    Thanks for the comment Tony. Sry for any misunderstanding. I’ll actually be thrilled is these guys get a #1 album out of this, with Sugarland and B&D dominating the duo routes its about time MG gave them a little compatition.

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  1. Album Review: “Back When i Knew It All” by Montgomery Gentry | The Country Spur

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