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More than four months after the shocking death of Montgomery Gentry’s Troy Gentry, his longtime musical partner and friend Eddie Montgomery is opening up about the toll the loss has taken on his life, and his determination to keep Troy’s memory alive through music.

As fans know, Troy was taken Sept. 8, 2017 when a pre-show joyride in a helicopter resulted in a crash that claimed his life.

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“Of course, after Sept. 8 my whole world changed, and a lot of people’s worlds changed,” Eddie tells Rare Country. “That horrific accident, which I can’t say a whole lot about it because it’s still an investigation, but there for a while the world stopped and [there were] a lot of sleepless nights and just thinking, ‘Man, do we put out the CD? Do I keep going?’”

The CD he’s referring to is the duo’s new 12-track album, “Here’s To You,” which they had finished recording just a day before the accident. The album had been intended to mark Montgomery Gentry’s 20th anniversary as a duo. But as the title suggests, it’s now a final tribute to Troy, and, according to Eddie, his partner’s best vocal performance on an album to date. It is scheduled to be released on Feb. 2.

Suprisingly, Eddie says he and Troy had — more than once — casually discussed the band’s future in the event one of them should pass away.

“Me and T have been together for almost 35 years, and me and him had talked about this before,” Eddie reveals. “That’s what’s weird about the whole thing because we had talked about it over a few drinks, just being brothers and friends all these years going, ‘If anything ever happens to one of us, man, we want the other one to keep Montgomery Gentry going and keep it rocking. For a while, ’cause we joked about it, I always thought it might be me ’cause I always lived on the wilder side at that time.

“We never thought it would really come true,” Eddie said of their hypothetical conversations. “But accidents happen, and that was a really bad one.”

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After the crash, Eddie spoke with Troy’s wife, Angie and teenage daughter Kaylee, as well as the duo’s longtime bandmates and, based on those conversations, decided to not only put out the album, but to keep touring behind the name Montgomery Gentry.

“It’s like, you know what? T-Roy would kick our ass if we didn’t get out there and do this,” Eddie says. “As long as I’m alive he will be alive.”

Phyllis Stark is a Nashville-based entertainment journalist who has been reporting extensively on country music (and loving every moment of it) for more than two decades.
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