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Montgomery Gentry

You Do Your Thing – 2004 (Columbia)

Reviewed by Rick Bell

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CDs by Montgomery Gentry

Conventional wisdom says with four producers, 22 musicians, 12 background vocalists, a swarm of songwriters and a visit from Hank Williams Jr., Montgomery Gentry's latest album should be titled "Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen."

Instead, Troy Gentry and Eddie Montgomery steer their fourth album away from becoming an in-studio train wreck and smack into a hell-raisin' 12-song front-yard keg party. Gentry takes jukebox anthems to a new level with "I Got Drunk," then offers a sense of urgency on several cuts, including the Bob DiPiero-Rivers Rutherford tune "If You Ever Stop Loving Me." Rutherford contributes to three cuts and also stands toe-to-toe as a producer with the likes of veterans Joe Scaife and Blake Chancey.

Gentry takes white-trash jukebox anthems to a new level - lower or higher, depending on how you see it - with "I Got Drunk." The sense of urgency changes as his vocals soar over stomping guitar work on several cuts, including the Bob DiPiero-Rivers Rutherford cry for love "If You Ever Stop Loving Me." Rutherford contributes to three cuts and also stands toe-to-toe in his debut as a producer with the likes of veterans Joe Scaife and Blake Chancey. Montgomery gives songwriter Jeffrey Steele a crack in the producer's chair, offering a unique glimpse into the life of a once-aspiring rocker who loses both career and love, yet survives on "She Loved Me."

Give the boys credit: Not only did they successfully put two songwriters in the producer's chair, they take southern rock deep into the heart of country music. Where Marty Stuart, Travis Tritt and Andy Griggs have dabbled in southern rock, Montgomery Gentry unleash it in a torrent of brash lyrics, wailing guitars and pounding percussion. Maybe it is a train wreck, after all - one that crashes through boundaries seldom crossed in Nashville.