Walker Montgomery Interview

Country music’s Walker Montgomery has “Work To Do”


Rust cannot hide this shining star


By Preshias Harris for Country Music News International Magazine



Yes, Walker Montgomery comes from a hallowed musical heritage – his father is hitmaker John Michael Montgomery and his uncle is Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry – but make no mistake: Walker is carving out his own career in music and he’s doing it his way. His new single, “Lonely For A Livin’” is set for release June 23.


Case in point: his latest single, and arguably the most ‘traditional country’ song he has released so far: “Work To Do.”  Walker sat down with me during CMA Fest in Nashville, and we talked about the writing process for that song.


“We wrote ‘Work To Do’ back in 2021,” Walker told me, “Some buddies of mine, Adam Wood, Mark Irwin – who wrote “Here In The Real World” for Alan Jackson – and me.  We just got in the writing room and Adam had this idea which was, ‘whiskey’s got some work to do’ and he already had some stuff worked up. I was like, ‘dadgum, that’s cool!’ We knew we wanted to write it, but we didn’t know the angle which we wanted to write it as.”


Walker said that, as they were writing it together, it turned into a ‘breakup’ song.

“As soon as we wrote it, I kinda knew that it was the direction I wanted to go to, music-wise,” he said. “It took us a while to cut it, but I didn’t release music for over a year and it was kind of the perfect reintroduction, so to say, to people who might not know who I was because I didn’t release music for so long.  I was so busy being on the road last year. I looked up and it was already 2023.”


Walker believes it’s a classic breakup song, adding, “It has that nostalgia feel with lots of fiddle and lots of steel. I’m really proud of it.”


Listen to “Work To Do” at Walker Montgomery’s website here: https://www.walkermontgomery.com where you can also watch the music video for the song.


Walker talked to me about “Simple Town” and how that song was to set the direction of his musical path.


“I was a freshman in college and I was sitting in my dorm room,” he recalled. “I’d never written a song before, never sung a song that I’d written. I don’t know what it was, but I always say it’s a God thing. I was sitting at this little desk – they’ve got these little desks in the dorm rooms – I was just sitting there and something happened and I said, ‘Well, I’m gonna write a song today.’  I’m sure my neighbors hated it because I was beating down on a guitar! But it just came out as one of those songs I wrote in forty-five minutes. I got done, made some tweaks and I was like, ‘huh, well that’s a song, I guess.’”


And here’s where things really got interesting.


“We played it for the first time at a UK [University of Kentucky] football game of all things and they had this little fan-voted pre-show thing and we went on Twitter,” said Walker. A guy named Michael Jordan who’s a radio station guy from 98.1 The Bull [WBUL-FM, Lexington, KY], he came up afterwards and he said, ‘If you record that song, I’ll put it on the radio, and spin it six times a day’ or whatever. I kinda looked at my band, looked at my mom, and I said, ‘Well I guess I’m not going to college anymore.’


Michael Jordan is a good guy to have in your corner – and a bit more than just a ‘radio station guy.’ Jordan is Regional Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia’s Kentucky-Indiana Region and is also Brand Coordinator for iHeartCountry. With that kind of encouragement, Walker went down to Nashville and recorded “Simple Town” and some other songs.


“That was kinda really my first process of dipping my toes into the songwriting process,” he acknowledged.  “It’s been a lot harder since then but that’s why I say it was a God thing, because He said, ‘Okay, I’m gonna give you this easy one, boy, to get you started!’”


In March, Walker released a six-song EP titled Rust, produced by The Peach Pickers, comprising of hit songwriters Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson and Ben Hayslip who between them have scored close to eighty No. 1 songs.


We talked about one of the tracks on Rust titled “She Don’t Know” (penned by Dallas Davidson, Kyle Fishman and Michael Ray). The song has garnered over 20 million streams and counting.


“’She Don’t Know’ just took off and then we were getting thirty thousand streams a day on Spotify alone, kind of the same numbers on Apple Music and stuff,” he said.  “I was really lucky to cut that song, but it definitely fit my voice and kind of showed off both sides of my voice, how I can get up high and get down low too and just showed off a range like no song we’ve ever cut before.”


He added, “It’s definitely the number one song that people sing along with at the shows.”


As we were getting ready to wrap up our time together and head out into the throng of CMA Fest, I threw a quick question out of left field at Walker: If you were given a $10,000 gift card and could only spend it in one place, where would you go?


After a moment’s thought he replied, “It’d probably be at AutoZone or O’Reilly Auto Parts, somewhere like that!  I’ve got these classic cars. I’ve got a ’63 T-Bird and a ’71 Rolls Royce. I’m always looking for stuff. I’d just walk around O’Reilly’s and take stuff off the shelves and throw it in the basket. Yeah, I’d probably clean out O’Reilly’s Auto Parts!”


Walker Montgomery is a country star on the rise. Find out more about Walker, his upcoming shows and listen to the EP Rust at his website https://www.walkermontgomery.com. Follow Walker on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/walkercmontgomery/, on Instagram and TikTok (@walkermontgomery) and on Twitter (@WalkMontgomery).  #WalkerMontgomery


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