It's impossible to listen to Montgomery Gentry's "Here's to You," without also feeling sad that it's the last studio album featuring Troy Gentry, who died in a helicopter crash. When they sing, "Here's to the ones who ain't in here tonight" during "Needing a Beer" and then go on to praise fireman and cops for being elsewhere fighting crime, you may be struck by the fact that Gentry also "ain't in here tonight."
The album isn't all that different from this duo's preceding catalogue. These country performers have always created music for 'everyman.' They're not trying to push boundaries or expand the vocabulary of country music. They sing songs that make country folk proud to be who they are. That's what "Get Down South" is all about.
With that said, though, there are also moments of true transcendence. Eddie Montgomery's vocal on the great lyric to Keith Dozier and Adam Fears' "All Hell Broke Loose" is perfect. The lyric plays with Christian terminology to create a love song, but unlike Florida Georgia Line's attempt and failure with "Holy," this lyric doesn't feel awkward or sacrilegious. "Feet Back on the Ground" mines the familiar territory of a grown man getting back in touch with his roots. But once again, Montgomery's singing is spot-on. He's really never sounded better. Even "Drink Along Song," a simplistic drinking song, doesn't annoy. There's something to be said for likeability, and Montgomery Gentry has likeability in spades.
The lyrics to "Drink Along Song" mention "Songs that kinda make you wanna change the world." There aren't any of those kinds of songs on "Here's to You." Instead, there are plenty of songs that will make you proud to be a country music fan.