On the Record with Eddie Montgomery

DeKALB – Eddie Montgomery doesn’t call followers of his music “fans,” he calls them “friends.”

Montomery is looking forward to seeing friends, whether for the first time or the hundredth time, during this year’s Corn Fest, held in downtown DeKalb.

Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry recently released “Outskirts,” a seven-song EP. With more than 20 charted singles, the Kentucky native has earned CMA, ACM and Grammy awards and nominations with songs including “Hell Yeah,” “My Town” and “Hillbilly Shoes.” Montgomery Gentry has notched five number one singles: “If You Ever Stop Loving Me,” “Something to Be Proud of,” “Lucky Man,” “Back When I Knew It All,” and “Roll with Me.” They were inducted as Grand Ole Opry members in 2009 and were inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2015.

Montgomery will perform from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 29, on Corn Fest’s soundstage.

Admission to Corn Fest is free, but tickets to the soundstage cost $25 for a weekend pass or $10 for a daily pass. Passes can be purchased online at www.cornfest.com/sound-stage. The soundstage is a rain or shine event with no refunds.

Montgomery spoke to MidWeek reporter Katrina Milton about his band’s upcoming performance at Corn Fest and how music helped get him through the pandemic.

Milton: Are you looking forward to your upcoming show in DeKalb?

Montgomery: I’m ready to get back. It’s been a year and a half since anyone could do a show. It’s been hard on the industry and hard on everybody. I’m glad things are opening up. I have a brand new CD coming out and a lot of different things going on. I wrote a song for a movie that’s coming out called “My Son.” It’s good to write and have a song get out there. I also wrote a song “Ain’t No Closing Me Down.” … Look for the new album, we’re working on it right now. We’re hoping to get it out by the end of October. Anywhere you can buy it, you can get it.

Milton: How did you spend the pandemic?

Montgomery: I have a pretty good size garage, and I backed my truck out into the yard, put TVs on the garage walls, I have a glass-front refrigerator, and the next thing I know, my garage had turned into a bar. I had a lot of friends and family over, hanging out and grilling. We would sit around and pick guitar in the garage, and that’s how we ended up writing new songs.

Milton: What was the most difficult part of the pandemic?

Montgomery: It was very, very hard, not getting up on stage and seeing all of those smiling faces. That’s what drives us musicians. We love getting up on stage, letting everyone know who we are and putting ourselves out there.

Milton: What can people expect from one of your shows?

Montgomery: When we hit the stage, anything can happen and it usually does. It’s wild and free. We love having a lot of fun, and there are a lot of people waiting to have a lot of fun. It’s America, baby, greatest country in the world. We don’t give American heroes enough credit. Thank God we can do that, celebrate and have a good time. Shows are all about having fun, a few libations, great music, hanging with buddies and making new friends. We’re in the greatest country in the world, and everyone can be out there and having fun. We can party all night long, lock the doors and bolt the gates. … We’ll play music from our 20 years of hits: old stuff, new stuff and everything in between. We want everyone singing with us and drinking libations: Jim Beam, iced tea or whatever you’d like.

Milton: What are you looking forward to the most about performing during Corn Fest?

Montgomery: I love festivals, and I definitely love the food. I’m also looking forward to spending time with my friends. I call them friends, not fans, and I’m blessed to have friends all around the world. I can’t wait to see and hang with them.

Katrina Milton

Katrina J.E. Milton

Award-winning reporter and photographer for Shaw Media publications, including The Daily Chronicle and The MidWeek newspapers in DeKalb County, Illinois, since 2012.