Many artists enjoying the inaugural C'Ya on the Flipside fundraiser — at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House on Wednesday evening, to learn the Troy Gentry Foundation — drew on fond reminiscences of the late Gentry’s music and his persona.
Delivering a rough-and-rowdy model of Montgomery Gentry’s 1999 breakthrough hit “Hillbilly Shoes,” Jon Pardi instructed Billboard that listening to the tune on the radio was a kind of moments that outlined him.
“I simply bear in mind it was simply so current and highly effective,” he mentioned backstage. “I [also] cherished the entire [2002 album] My Town. There had been so many nice and particular songs.”
Pardi was among the many stars paying tribute to Gentry, who died in a helicopter accident on Sept. eight, 2017. Co-hosted by Blake Shelton and Storme Warren, the present additionally included Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley, Chris Janson, Jimmie Allen, Lee Brice and Dustin Lynch, amongst others.
Others remembered Gentry’s well-loved humorousness. “I used to be opening up for them — perhaps opening up for one more opener — and Troy got here on my bus to hang around and say hiya,” remembers Brice. “At the tip of the evening, my keyboard participant comes up [to Troy] and says, ‘It’s so good to see you tonight. What’s your title?' Troy laughed so arduous, and it didn’t damage his ego as a result of he didn’t have one.”
It was that laughter that may without end be related to Gentry, Brice added. “When I hear his title, I consider smiles, arduous work, perseverance — he sang about who he was and what he lived. That’s why their music was so constant. You can’t beat that. That’s why they’d all of these followers. They may establish them. When I see his title, I see his smile, and that makes me smile.”
Lynch mentioned lots of his reminiscences of Gentry revolved across the Opry Duck Hunt — a casual annual gathering of Opry members who gathered collectively for a searching journey — the place the 2 initially struck up a detailed bond.
“That’s the place he and I turned aware of one another,” Lynch says. “We’d have some highly effective conversations in entrance of the lodge, as a result of that was what it was about: getting us collectively on a private degree. We took off down there for the final time about 10 a.m., and he pulled out moonshine and beer cheese he had simply made. That kicked off our journey, and in effective vogue. We had been feeling fantastic.”
Fellow member Craig Morgan agreed with Lynch’s evaluation of the particular occasions the Opry Duck Hunt supplied with Gentry. “It’s been happening for effectively over 50 years. A variety of occasions we don’t do any deer or duck searching; we simply hang around. It’s actually about that camaraderie, and Troy, fairly actually, had turn out to be one the important thing cogs within the Hunt. As the followers misplaced him as a buddy, a number of us misplaced him as a person and as an individual. We additionally misplaced him as an integral a part of that Hunt.”
Colt Ford, co-owner of Average Joe’s Entertainment, Montgomery Gentry’s label, mentioned C-Ya on the Flipside was an emotional night all the best way round, particularly provided that Eddie Montgomery and Gentry had been among the many first individuals Ford met in Nashville.
“They have been so good to me from day one,” he says. “I’ve by no means been inside [the Grand Ole Opry House] earlier than. So the primary time I get to do it and rejoice one in every of my good buddies with a number of my different associates, I’m just a little nervous, just a little excited and just a little scared.”
Ford mentioned getting the decision that Gentry had died again in 2017 is one thing he’ll always remember. “I bear in mind the place I used to be. We had simply completed the brand new [Montgomery Gentry] report perhaps a few weeks in the past. I acquired the decision lower than 10 minutes after it occurred. Then, I knew that as associates, I needed to make some calls. I known as Jamey Johnson and Rhett Akins — individuals who you’ll need somebody that is aware of what’s going on to inform them. It’s a tricky scenario, however I feel he can be pleased to be up right here and see his buddies doing what they’re doing.”
For Gentry’s widow, Angie, “I believed [the evening] was by no means going to get right here really, and now that it’s right here it’s likewise thrilling and it’s bittersweet that we’re going to rejoice him, and he’s not right here.”
Planning the occasion and speaking with fellow artists and followers confirmed her a unique aspect of her husband. “I suppose I’ve realized that he touched lots of people and the way they reacted to him,” she says, including that different occasions to supply funding for the Troy Gentry Foundation had been within the works.
That’s music to the ears of Gentry’s musical associate of over twenty years. Eddie Montgomery says that he and Angie are going to hold on Gentry’s title the easiest way they know: Montgomery will proceed to tour and report below the Montgomery Gentry title. “I’m so grateful for Angie, who’s going to maintain his legacy alive in Nashville — and I’ll do my greatest to do the identical on the highway. It’s been really a terrific evening,” mentioned the singer, who closed the evening with a crowd sing-along of “My Town.”
The Troy Gentry Foundation will increase cash for charities that Montgomery Gentry have lengthy supported, equivalent to The T.J. Martell Foundation. “The indisputable fact that the Troy Gentry Foundation goes to proceed to assist out is so particular,” Lynch says. "What extra are you able to ask for? Music lives on. We don’t….however it does.”