With a voice as powerful as it is smooth and an innate ability to weave words into songs that transcend generations and speak to the masses, it’s no wonder that Walker Montgomery is a star on the rise. There’s no doubt he has some serious shoes to fill, following in the footsteps of his father, John Michael Montgomery, and his uncle, Eddie Montgomery, but the younger Montgomery seems poised to continue his family’s legacy.
It was just after he stepped out onto the stage for the first time, receiving a warm and enthusiastic welcome from the crowd at a county fair in his hometown of Nicholasville, Kentucky, that he wrote what would become his first single, “Simple Town.”
Almost instantly the tribute to the place he says made him into the man he is today became a local hit, playing in heavy rotation on Central Kentucky radio stations. This fall he used “Simple Town” as the title track of his debut EP, which weaves elements of Montgomery’s many musical influences together to create his signature sound and takes listeners on an emotional journey.
“When I put this record together, my main goal was to have relatable songs for the listener,” he said. “When you can pull on someone’s heartstrings a bit, chances are they’ll like the song. ‘Burnin’ 18’ is the epitome of a summer song. Even the fast, up-beat songs can get to someone’s heart and remind them of when they were 18 and how they were raised.”
Also included on the Simple Town album is his current single “Just Say When,” an emotional and relatable ballad that tells the story of wanting something – or someone - you know is bad for you. Written by Ross Lipsy, Houston Phillips, Taylor Phillips and Matt Roy, the message drew Montgomery in immediately.
“The lyrics really hit you right in the heart,” he explained.
“It has a message that everyone can relate to, because everyone has been in that situation at one time or another.”
Another song, which has quickly become a fan favorite with its nostalgic homespun message is “Just a Truck,” a song Montgomery was inspired to record because he so genuinely related to its theme during his own high school years.
“I grew up on a farm and Daddy always had a truck we could run around in, and get hurt in, and do everything in the world in that Momma didn’t know about,” said Montgomery. “So, when I heard that song, it hit me…when you’ve got a truck like that, your whole life is in it. It gets you from Point A to Point B, but it’s more than just that. It’s your life.”
The variety of pace, sound and style throughout Simple Town is quickly becoming signature to Montgomery’s overall sound, thanks in large part to his parents exposing him to many different genres and styles of music during his formative years.
“I’m blessed because I really like all types of music. When you grow up listening to everything from Big Band, Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller to old time country, it gives you a different perspective from both a musician’s and vocal standpoint,” said Montgomery, who says he credits Randy Travis, Luke Bryan and his own father as his musical idols. “Every once in a while, when we’re playing live, I’ll throw in a Frank Sinatra cover or something just to change things up.”
While Montgomery is most often seen onstage playing the guitar, he also plays not only piano, but the mandolin (joking that “I’m from Kentucky, so you know I’ve got to play some kind of Bluegrass instrument!”). A songwriter for both himself and for others to perform, it’s with the help of those instruments that he often creates the initial melodies for his songs.
“It’s never really planned on,” says Montgomery of his writing process. “It always seems like I have a guitar or piano close by, so I can jot down a little chorus. I usually get the melody, but that can sometimes change a bit once you put the words to it. Writing is definitely one of my passions.”
Fans will likely get the opportunity to hear more of Montgomery’s work. He was recently signed to William Morris Entertainment, the largest booking agent in the world.
“The support that Kentucky has brought me is a special thing,” he said. “My home state has pushed me to where I am. It’s amazing and I can’t thank Kentucky enough.”
Visit walkermontgomery.com to purchase Simple Town.