Country crooner jams to rock beat hooks

Randy Montana comes to the Ta

By Karen Long

That's what I love: all the songs are stories, says Randy Montana, up-and-coming Nashville singer-songwriter. You'll never listen to a country song and not understand the lyric. In a recent interview Montana talked about the heritage of country music and the songs from his upcoming album, which he'll be performing at the July 29th benefit concert for the South YMCA.

Montana has been cropping up all over the country music circuit, buzzing around places like the Grand Ole Opry, the Daytona 500 and Taylor Swift's Speak Now World Tour. He's graced the pages of People Country and Southern Living and even cracked the Country Top 40 with his single Ain't Much Left Of Lovin You.

Country stories and rippin guitars

Southern Living named Montana one of five Best New Artists in its Best of the South issue, stating, "The raspy-voiced Montana breaks the genre's mold but respects its heritage."

When asked to elaborate, Montana said of his music: "They are all country songs. Now, whether or not the electric guitar, a rippin solo if that makes a song not country I think that's wrong. It's all about the song." "What's cool about country music is it'all stories, and all the songs on the record are stories and that's the heritage."

Yearning, regret and melancholy float through Montana's songs, jostling with pounding guitars in the tradition of Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne, yet the story details ring clear. Blue jeans, tomboys, wine stains, perfume, porch swings and Sunday mornings feature prominently in his first two singles, "1,000 Faces" and "Ain't Much Left of Lovin You."

The self-titled Mercury Records debut album, which will be released on July 26th, three days before the Wichita concert, promises even more lusty narrative, studded as it is with an incriminating book of matches, last horses, one-way trains ridden and time cards punched.

Montana co-wrote most of the songs and stories on the album along with some of Nashville's best, including Tom Douglas, Rodney Clawson, Casey Beathard, Brian Maher and others.

Father and son team

On the track "Last Horse," Montana collaborated with his father, Billy Montana, who penned such hits as Garth Brooks's "More Than A Memory", Sarah Evans's "Suds In The Bucket" and JoDee Messina's "Bring On The Rain." Montana can't say enough about working with his father. "My dad, throughout this whole process he's been unbelievably great the best thing that my dad could've ever done is that he was always there, but he also wasn't constantly over my shoulder. I still call my dad to this day and we talk about everything."

Read the extended interview where Randy Montana opens up about his storytelling, turning hearbreak into art and the long list of job titles he held before finally landing a record deal.

Concert and auction to benefit the South YMCA's Strong Kids Campaign

Biddin With Your Boots On

"That was always the theme," Mike Jobe, executive director of the South Y says of its 2011 summer fundraiser. "We just didn't know what we were going to do with it and then Anthony [Allen] from Kissin Country helped us out and brought in a country-western artist."

Headliner Randy Montana will perform a complete set, and the event will also feature food, drinks and a live and silent auction of destination packages and other items.

All proceeds will benefit the Strong Kids campaign, which underwrites the YMCA membership fees of those in need. "At the South Y about 50% of the memberships that we get are based on financial assistance," says Jobe. "The South Y actually does the most in terms of financial assistance of any branch in the city."

Friday, July 29th | 6:30-9:00pm
$25/individual tickets
$250/corporate tables of 10 seats
Farha Sport Center
3405 S. Meridian (right behind the South Y)
Purchase tickets at the South Y or call 942.5511

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