Nobody declared June 9, 2015, new music day in Kentucky, but that’s what we have with new releases from two Central Kentucky artists.
Newly inducted Kentucky Music Hall of Fame members Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, known to country music fans as Montgomery Gentry, dropped Folks Like Us, their first new album in three years and Blaster Records debut.
Laura Bell Bundy, who may have one of the most multi-faceted careers of anyone is show business today, is out with her latest country release, Another Piece of Me, fresh off turning heads on the Tony Awards red carpet.
Bundy is best known for her film and stage work, including regular roles on FX’s Anger Management and The CW’s Hart of Dixie and Broadway turns in Wicked, Hairspray and her Tony Award-nominated performance as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde — The Musical.
But from her work with childhood friend Amber Rhodes to her solo albums both on independent and major labels, country music has always been a passion project for Bundy, and in interviews, she has said the new album is her most personal project yet.
Another Piece of Me boasts a trademark Bundy dance song, and Two Step is the one here, with Bundy talking us through it like a Broadway choreographer. Regardless of where you put her, there will always be a storyteller in Bundy, and songs like She Only Wants to Dance and China and Wine have moments where that stage interpreter comes out.
And Montgomery Gentry will always be guys from rural Kentucky, as Folks Like Us attests. In the title tune, they sing in the chorus, “Raise ’em up, if you’re thinkin’, This ole’ world ain’t got enough, Boot wearin’, God fearin’, Folks like us.” It is well worn territory for the guys, and frankly they do the small town reminiscing song a lot better than a lot of acts; it seems to come from a more honest place. The clarity is reminiscent of John Mellencamp’s Cherry Bomb. And as Montgomery and Gentry showed at the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame ceremony in April, it’s a role they play very well and the audience loves it.
Hillbilly Hippies seems to want to be a summer anthem, and who knows. These next three months always seem bigger than their actual spot on the calendar, and Bundy and the boys are getting them started off right.