Singer-songwriter Randy Montanas debut album clings to the rough edges of countrys musical highway with its compelling storytelling and vivid imagery combined with a raw but rocking guitar-driven sound.
Montanas boundary-free music captures the yearning of restless young men who are in a hurry to take life as far as they can, men who are sometimes too caught up in the moments of passion to have thoughts of regret. His raspy voice, which sounds older than his years, tells of temptation and consequences while painting musical portraits of wheels turning, fires burning and women scribbling phone numbers on matchbooks.
"With a debut record, youve got to come out and be like, Man, this is me. Here are the things that I want to say through a song that maybe will let others get to know me as a person, where I stand on things and experiences I have gone through," he says. "There are heartache songs, those love-lost songs, but there are some that are just good-feeling songs that just feel right. With this album I would like to give people a little glimpse into my life and feelings that Ive felt and things that I want to tell."
Montana is a songwriters son who has found his own voice and quickly earned respect as a tunesmith on Music Row. He co-wrote the bulk of his eponymous album, and Montgomery Gentry recorded the Montana-penned "Cant Feel the Pain." Emmylou Harris was so impressed by Montanas talent that she harmonizes with him on "Last Horse."
His father is Billy Montana, whose hits include Garth Brooks "More Than a Memory," Sara Evans "Suds in the Bucket" and the Grammy-nominated Jo Dee Messina hit "Bring on the Rain." Billy grew up dreaming of owning an apple farm before his musical aspirations took over and he worked on a New York vegetable farm to support his family of five before becoming a successful songwriter, so perhaps its not surprising that he received national acclaim for his accurate portrayals of rural life. But Randys urban reality is much different, and its that world interstates instead of back roads, bars instead of barns that he explores for lifes truths. Yet hes a true guys guy who loves hunting, the outdoors and riding motorcycles.
The common thread the Montanas share is that they both are driven to examine universal themes and create musical montages that have such a strong impact on the senses that listeners believe they can hear the lovers whisper and rain softly thumping on the windows.
"Growing up around it, it took me awhile to come into my own," he says. "I never worried about being in a shadow or anything like that. But I also wanted to achieve that same kind of songwriting level that my dad achieved."
Randy was born in Albany, N.Y., and moved with his family to Nashville in 1988 when Billy signed a record deal with Warner Bros. "I always grew up around music, watching him do it," Randy says. "He was always playing gigs or writers nights. I kind of grew up next to a stage. Anytime the family got together, the guitars came out."
"We grew up listening to Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Jackson Browne for road trips. I grew up around that stuff, listening to that, and I think thats a pretty good place to start."
He started playing guitar at age 10, writing songs at age 16 and performed his first song publicly at one of his fathers writers nights at age 17. "When I was young, I remember really, really wanting to do it," he says. "It kind of intimidated me though, because you grow up watching your dad do it."
He was the high school quarterback and goalkeeper in soccer and landed a football scholarship but instead opted to play college soccer. After a year at Nashvilles Trevecca Nazarene University, he transferred to Middle Tennessee State University, but left after two years when music beckoned.