montgomery gentry: back when i knew it all

There were signs on their 2006 album Some People Change that hometown country heroes Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry might be settling down. A little. Not so on Back When I Knew It All. While the very Byrds-like title tune hints at life that outlasted a youth run on “beer and gasoline half a lap ahead of the law,” much of the album is fueled by higher octane stuff that is vastly less apologetic. The party starts not in a roadhouse, but in a foot stomping mountainside church service with a taste for snake handling and a preacher on the verge of spontaneous combustion. “He ain’t sure and we ain’t sure exactly what he said,” sings Gentry over screams of slide guitar on The Revival. “So praise the lord and pass me a copperhead.” Can’t wait to see the video for that one. Similarly raucous but vastly less frightful is I Pick My Parties, a middle age manual for mid-week revelry sung with Toby Keith (who Montgomery Gentry will tour extensively with this summer), and One in Every Crowd, which neatly countrifies a David Bowie/Alice Cooper guitar riff as it honors the sort of one-man audience annoyance most folks would opt to clobber if given license. In short, Back When I Knew It All is electric business as usual for our Kentucky pals as it returns to a rowdier framework while keeping a wary eye on the age factor.

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