John Michael Montgomery has turned an uncanny ability to relate to fans into one of country music’s most storied careers. Behind the string of hit records, the roomful of awards and the critical and fan accolades that have defined his phenomenal success lies a connection that goes beyond his undeniable talent and his proven knack for picking hits. Since the days when “Life’s A Dance” turned him from an unknown artist into a national star, John Michael’s rich baritone has carried that most important of assets–believability. Few artists in any genre sing with more heart than this handsome Kentucky-born artist.
It is readily apparent in love songs that have helped set the standard for a generation. Songs like “I Swear,” “I Love the Way You Love Me” and “I Can Love You Like That” still resonate across the landscape–pop icon and country newcomer Jessica Simpson cited “I Love The Way You Love Me” as an influence in a recent interview. It is apparent in the 2004 hit “Letters From Home,” one of the most moving tributes to the connection between soldiers and their families ever recorded, and in “The Little Girl,” a tale of redemption that plumbs both the harrowing and the uplifting. It is apparent even in the pure fun that has always found its way into John Michael’s repertoire–songs like “Be My Baby Tonight” and “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident),” where John Michael’s vocal earnestness takes musical whimsy to another level.
The family band played on weekends throughout the area, and John Michael and his brother Eddie eagerly soaked up everything about it.
The hits followed steadily, with songs like “Rope The Moon,” “If You’ve Got Love,” “No Man’s Land,” “Cowboy Love,” “As Long As I Live,” “Friends” and “How Was I To Know” establishing him as one of the elite acts of the era. He received the CMA Horizon award and was named the ACM’s Top New Vocalist, setting off a long series of awards that included the CMA’s Single and Song of the Year, Billboard’s Top Country Artist, and a Grammy nomination. Heavy touring meant he kept the close touch with fans he had begun in the clubs back home.
“You get to know your fans and what they like more and more through the years,” he says, “and you kind of gravitate towards one another.”
Indeed, he has always had an extraordinarily close relationship with his fans, and they have stayed with him through good and bad times.
Asked what he thinks gave him the edge in a career that calls millions but gives stardom to just a few, he pauses, then thinks back to the legacy of his parents.
“I reckon it was good genes and good blood,” he says with a smile. Few who know the depth and breadth of his own growing legacy would disagree.
Walker Montgomery, chosen as an Artist to Watch in 2022 by Country Now and Music Mayhem Magazine; as well as Artist to Watch in 2021 by Sounds Like Nashville and The Boot and a Country Next pick by Country Now, is a rising singer/songwriter who knows a thing or two about family tradition, but he’s an artist making his own legacy. The 24-year-old son of John Michael Montgomery and nephew of Montgomery Gentry’s Eddie Montgomery, the emerging star was raised away from the spotlight in Nicholasville, Kentucky. But now that he’s found that spotlight on his own, Montgomery’s pedigree is matched only by his country passion. While Montgomery has consistently been touring the country and writing songs – he’s already put his classically-inspired, honey-bourbon vocal to use on a self-penned hit debut (“Simple Town,” over 7 Million global streams). A pair of story-building singles followed – the high-energy “Like My Daddy Done It” and passionate “She Don’t Know” – has led to a staggering 40+Million career streams. Montgomery and his team have already logged countless hours in the studio, as the breakout talent works to hone his lyrical honesty and integrity, plus a lived-in sound that brings country’s past into the present tense. “I want my music to stand the test of time and connect with people no matter who they are,” he says. “I learned from my family that the way you do that is by being true to yourself, and that’s the reason I’m here. That’s the reason I get up every day and do what I do – to help take care of the family name and make them proud.”
Brothers Eric and Alec Poore, along with close friends Blake Phelps, Connor Wilson, and Justin Conn, are Paint Creek, newcomers that have spent the last two years taking the Kentucky music scene by storm. Hailing from the foothills of Appalachia & boasting a resume that includes opening credits for four-time Grammy Award nominee Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts (“What Hurts the Most”; “Bless the Broken Road”), two-time Grammy Award nominee James Otto (“Just Got Started Loving You”), and RIAA Certified Gold artist Trey Lewis (“D*cked Down in Dallas”), Paint Creek is now garnering recognition in their own right. They secured a 2022 nomination for Lexington’s ABC 36 News Viewer’s Choice Award for Best Music Act as well as a 2023 nomination for Country Act of the Year at the 9th Annual Lexington Music Awards.
Paint Creek brings to the stage a high energy show paired with the talent and setlist that is guaranteed to captivate an audience of any age. Seamlessly transitioning from today’s favorites to yesterday’s legends is a hallmark of any Paint Creek show, and fans can expect covers from a wide range of artists from Luke Combs and Morgan Wallen to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Brooks and Dunn. With their own growing catalog of original music quickly garnering fans for its eclectic sound and relatable lyrics, Paint Creek is quickly becoming a recognized and sought-after name in the burgeoning Kentucky music industry and beyond.