I’ve been enjoying Eddie and Troy since Hillbilly Shows in 1999, and have seen them live many times down at the Angelus benefits thrown by Charlie Daniels. I have also reviewed every album they have put out, and I have long held onto my belief that 2002’s My Town was their best work, with its hard Southern Rock anthem “Hell Yeah,” and an album’s worth of great tracks. While I still hold My Town in high regard, I’m going to have to honestly say that Back When I Knew it All eclipses even that gem in sheer rock and country goodness. There’s not a song on the album that couldn’t hit the country Top Ten.
I absolutely love the start of the record, a live tent revival that bleeds into “The Big Revival,” a Southern Rock gospel rave up featuring Eddie and Troy on alternating vocals and a great and memorable lyric with lines like, “Praise the Lord and pass me a copperhead.”
Eddie sings some serious country on “Long Line of Losers.” and Troy recreates the punch of “Hell Yeah” with “Now You’re Talkin.’” The first single from the album is the title track, another well written song wrapped around a melody that draws you in, “Back When I Knew it All” is already a certified hit, but it is just the first. Look for “Roll With Me” to chart as well, with its infectious groove.
“One in Every Crowd” is another MG rave up that name drops Skynyrd and brown liquor, rednecks and bikes. Everything we love, basically. A sure fire concert hit. Then there is “Look Some More,” an up tempo Southern Rock squall that features some smoking Dixie slide guitar. It may be my favorite on the album. I’ll have to get back to you on that.
'”I Pick My Parties” is yet another serious rocker that finds the guys in duet with Toby Keith, and “One Trip” is another one that has that Southern Rock sound, very reminiscent of early Marshall Tucker.
The album closes with Eddie’s country rockin’ “It Ain’t About Easy” followed by the only real ballad on the album, “God Knows Who I Am,” written and sung by Eddie Montgomery, a song about taking stock of just who he is. Something we all need to do from time to time.
I’ve played this CD about twenty times now, and it just keeps sounding better. If you love Outlaw Country, you’ll love it. If you love Southern Rock, and who doesn’t, you are going to be happy to put this on the changer in between Skynyrd and The Outlaws and Molly Hatchet. Country? Yes. Rock? Yes. Just plain good? Ditto. Montgomery Gentry’s best yet. And that is saying a mouth full.
-Michael Buffalo Smith