NEW ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Randy Montana
By Bob Doerschuk
© 2011 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.
Randy Montana was born into Music City royalty, but he charts his own course. His dad, Billy Montana, wrote hits for Garth Brooks, Sara Evans, Jo Dee Messina and others. Randy’s path is different: At this stage of his young career, he’s earning a reputation as a writer too but seems on course to make his main impact as an artist.
On his self-titled debut album for Mercury Nashville, produced by Jay Joyce, Montana wrote or co-wrote nine of its 11 tracks. He sings with a voice that’s just a bit weathered and rugged and a flair for musical drama. On his first single, “Ain’t Much Left of Lovin’ You” (written by Montana and Joshua Ragsdale), he couples the pain of a lost love to a pounding beat and a soaring riff that invites the broken hearted to dance their memories away. Then he switches to an upbeat appreciation of love found on the second single, “1,000 Faces” (Montana and Tom Douglas), which proves equally compatible with his resonant, guitar-driven, exultant sound.
Born in Albany, N.Y., and raised in Nashville, Montana went to Trevecca Nazarene University on a soccer scholarship, transferred to Middle Tennessee State University, and then left to work odd jobs while polishing his writing. Signed to Sony/ATV Music Publishing in 2008, he funneled the spirits of Jackson Browne, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen through his family’s Country DNA.
The results have stirred notice throughout the industry. CMA’s Country Music Hall of Fame member Emmylou Harris was among the many who saw promise in Montana’s music, so much so that she joined him on harmony for “Last Horse,” which Montana wrote with his father and Rodney Clawson. The song must have attracted her attention as much as the voice; the lyric sets up a picture that’s both cinematic and intimate, framed by a sweet, sad metaphor. This is mature writing by any measure, sung with tempered, tuneful passion.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
MUSICAL HERO“Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.”
SONG YOU’D LOVE TO COVER“‘Heartache,’ by Jamey Johnson – love that song!”
DREAM DUET PARTNER“Emmylou Harris – so dreams really do come true!”
FAVORITE FOOD ON THE ROAD“Sunflower seeds.”
FIRST GIG“It was a picnic for a high school class. Somebody taped it. It was awful.”
SOMETHING WE’D NEVER GUESS ABOUT YOU“I’m a coffee snob.”
On The Web: www.RandyMontana.com