Chosen as an “Artist to Watch” by “Country Now,” “Music Mayhem Magazine,” “Sounds Like Nashville,” “The Boot” and others, Walker Montgomery knows a thing or two about family tradition, but he’s also striving to build his own legacy.
Walker is also the nephew of Montgomery Gentry’s Eddie Montgomery. He was raised away from the spotlight in Nicholasville, Ky., but moved to Nashville about five years ago to carve his own path in today’s country music scene. Walker Montgomery recently released a new six-song EP, “Work To Do,” on Sept. 15.
The Journal-News spoke with Walker in a Q & A to find out more about his musical roots, his new EP, and what fans can expect from the upcoming concert at Lori’s Roadhouse.
QUESTION: Walker, you’ll be coming to town, and singing some of your new songs. Tell us what you’re most excited about?
WALKER MONTGOMERY: One, I’m excited because I’ve never been to the venue. I’m extremely excited about that. It’s going to be a great time. I know Dad has played there multiple times, and he’s always come back with great reviews, so we’re looking forward to playing there. And it’s always a good time to share music with people who might not have heard it before, especially with these new songs that we have coming out. I just released an EP, “Work To Do,” on Sept. 15 with six new songs on it. It’s my first project with my new producer, Bart Butler, who works with Jon Pardi, Warren Zeiders, and he has a great catalog of songs. But it’s always fun to give new music to people, especially if they might not have heard it, and to do a show with Dad that’s so close to home, that is always fun.
Q: Your Dad, John Michael Montgomery, and your Uncle Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry both have had musical success stories. Can you talk about the influence they’ve had on you?
A: Well, Dad and I, and Uncle Eddie and I have a very non-musical relationship, which I love and I’m grateful for. Dad is just Dad to me, and Uncle Eddie is just Uncle Eddie to me. Obviously, they have mentored me in the music industry, but they are even better mentors and role models when it comes to life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Like I said, obviously, in the music business, they’re there for advice, or for whatever I need, but more importantly, they’re strong role models and great family members.
Q: What are the biggest things you’ve learned from watching your dad and your Uncle Eddie?
A: Well, obviously in any career, and in any industry, you’re always going to have ups and downs, and that’s just part of it. I would definitely say that the No. 1 thing that I’ve learned from them, from each part of their careers, the highs and the lows, whatever it might be, is you’ve just got to, for the lack of better words, ‘put the horse blinders on,’ and focus on what you’re doing, on what your music is, on who you are as an entertainer and an artist, and that’s all you can do. You can only worry about yourself. Obviously, you care about other people, but you’ve got your fans out there that you know are going to listen to you, and you have to do everything you can to make them happy.
Q: What kinds of things are important to you as an artist?
A: Well, I always love real, authentic country music, and that’s my main goal with anything I release, or any show that we do, or any kind of product that I put out there. I just want real, authentic country music. That’s what I grew up listening to, that’s what Dad and Uncle Eddie have made, and it’s my goal to keep that going.
Q: Your new EP, “Work To Do,” was released this month. What are you most excited about as far as sharing the new songs?
A: It’s always fun to release new songs. In the world we live in today, a lot of the new songs are singles, just one song at a time, so when you get to put out a whole project like the “Work To Do” EP, you’ve put a lot of work into it, and you’ve put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into it. So, when you’re able to release something that’s a full-on project, it’s always a little bit more special than a single would be, because you’ve worked so hard and built it up to where you’re confident if you put it out, people are going to listen to it. So, that’s always the number-one thing for me, is getting the full project out.
Q: Kentucky is in our backyard, and that’s where you grew up. Can you share what it was like for you growing up in Nicholasville?
A: I always carry Kentucky with me, no matter where I go. It’s always going to be home. I say I live in Nashville, but Kentucky’s home. It’s always got a special place in my heart without a doubt. It was a great place to grow up, and I think that growing up in Kentucky helped me out with writing songs, and having different kinds of experiences, but it’s also a good place to come back and get re-rooted, remember where your roots are, and where you’ve come from. It’s just a great place. I hit the jackpot when I was able to grow up in Kentucky. Dad, and mother, and my grandparents still live in Nicholasville.
Q: What’s one thing you’d want to say to your fans?
A: I hope that they have a good time. I would encourage them to go listen to the music before I show up, and know a few of the words, but I’m just really excited to be in Ohio. Ohio is the best state for country music, period. There’s no doubt about it. They have the best shows, the best venues, and the best fans. So, every time we get to go to Ohio, it’s a treat.
Lori’s Roadhouse is located at 4924 Union Centre Pavilion Drive in West Chester Twp. For a complete schedule of upcoming concerts and events, or to purchase a ticket for Friday’s concert, go to www.lrhlive.com.