There are celebrities who have come and gone but their legacies still live with us. Such is the tale of Troy Gentry, a musician of American origin who made up the other half of the famous country duo, Montgomery Gentry, with his partner, Eddie Montgomery. The duo started in the early 90s, and after a couple of false starts solidified their identity in 1999.
Together, the two friends released a good number of hit songs which includes the likes of Hell Yeah as well as My Town. With their unique fusion of country and southern rock, Gentry and his bandmate went on to dominate the 2000s, winning several awards and selling out many tours. The duo was still set to do even greater things but Gentry’s life was cut short in the year 2017. Since then, it has been an outpouring of tributes as colleagues and family remember a man who made so much impact in his lifetime.
His Early Attempts as a Solo Act
Kentucky native, Troy Gentry, became interested in music from an early age. He spent most of his high school days gigging with several local bands. He however did not let this detract him from his studies. The young boy not only completed his high school diploma but also proceeded to the University of Kentucky where he obtained a degree in marketing and business management.
Upon completing his degree, Troy reunited with his two buddies, brothers – Eddie and John Michael Montgomery, to form a group known as Early Tymz in 1990. The group lasted for just a short period before they jettisoned that identity and started playing under the name, Young Country. John Michael served as the frontman of Young Country and after a while, he decided that he wanted to go solo. Troy also followed in his footsteps shortly after and decided to launch his own solo career.
In a bid to get things going, the Kentucky native entered into a national talent contest in 1994. He emerged victorious and was rewarded with a record deal. He was also given the opportunity of opening for renowned country music acts such as Tracy Byrd and Patty Loveless. All this was meant to serve as a springboard for Gentry to launch his own music career but he couldn’t make much headway. He, therefore, made the wise decision to join hands with his former bandmate, Eddie, as two heads would be better than one.
How Troy and Eddie Built Gentry Montgomery into one of the most Successful Music duos in Country Music
Upon their reunion, Troy Gentry and Eddie Montgomery formed the duo known as Deuce which majorly played at night clubs. They later landed a deal with Columbia Records’ Nashville division in 1999 and changed their name to Montgomery Gentry. The duo dropped their first studio album, Tattoos & Scars, in the year 1999. The album was a big success and served as a befitting reward for all of the hard work that the two had put in over the years. It spurned several top-charting singles including Lonely and Gone and Hillbilly Shoes. It also sold over a million copies and was certified platinum.
The accolades did not stop at this juncture. Tattoos & Scars also brought Troy Gentry and his bandmate several awards including favorite new artist – country at the 2000 American Music Awards, top new vocal duo or group at the American Country Music Awards, and vocal duo of the year at the Country Music Association Awards. Given such instantaneous success, Troy Gentry and his bandmate could have gotten lazy and let their feet off the gas. They, however, refused to do so as their dreams had always been to achieve longevity in the music industry rather than just being an overnight success.
Fueled by these lofty ambitions, the duo got to work on their second studio album, Carrying On, and released it in 2001. The album equally lived up to expectations and charted two singles, She Couldn’t Change Me and Cold One Comin’ On. It also sold about half a million copies. Following their second album, Troy Gentry and Eddie would go on to release about six other albums during the former’s lifetime. The albums also performed well with the bestselling amongst them being 2004’s You Do Your Thing. The album sold over one million copies and was certified platinum. It also spurned two No. 1 singles on the country charts, marking the first time that a Montgomery Gentry song would make it to that position.
Circumstances Surrounding the Helicopter Crash that took Troy Gentry’s Life
It’s been two years today he’s always on my mind . But thinking what he’d want me to do today and I’d say watching football and grilling out and drinking a cold one !!! HELLYEAH!!! Miss and love u brother
— Eddie Montgomery (@LuckymanEddie) September 8, 2019
Troy Gentry was at the prime of his life, prepping for the release of his group’s ninth studio album, when he died at the age of 50. His death occurred at exactly 1 p.m. local time on the 8th of September 2017, in a helicopter crash accident which also claimed the life of the pilot in Medford, New Jersey. The deceased musician embarked on a helicopter tour of Medford where he was to perform with his partner Eddie, at the Flying W Airport & Resort in Medford later in the day, just before the unfortunate incident happened.
The pilot died immediately while Troy gave up the ghost on his way to the hospital. His bandmate took to social media to announce his death and this led to an outpouring of tributes from many in the country music industry. One of them was Brad Paisley who tweeted that he was heartbroken and in disbelief and prayed God to bless the departed. A well-attended public memorial ceremony was held in Troy’s honor at Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. The music legend was not buried, his remains were cremated and his ashes are in the custody of his wife.
Troy Gentry may be gone but his loved ones continue to remember him each year. They hold a C’Ya on the Flipside benefit concert annually to support the foundation set up in his name. The foundation provides financial support to organizations that assist military families, provide music education to young ones, and conduct cancer research.
Meanwhile, in December 2018, The National Transportation Safety Board released a report in which it attributed the crash to the pilot’s error. It also fingered maintenance failures as part of the reasons behind the sad event.
Who are the Loved ones He left Behind?
Troy Gentry was married twice in his lifetime. His first marriage was to a lady named Kia Bradley Gentry. The union ended in divorce though they had a daughter named Taylor Gentry. The late musician’s second marriage was to Angie Kay McClure on the 14th of December 1999. This union happened right before the time he became famous but he didn’t allow the trappings of fame to ruin his marriage. Despite the fact that his touring schedule was grueling, Troy made sure that every free time was spent with his wife and daughters (he and Angie had a second daughter named Kaylee Gentry) rather than partying away.
All this made him a beloved husband and father and he further solidified this status after he helped his wife beat cancer. Angie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and this devastated the couple. They, however, joined hands together and with the help of treatments and a strong support network, she was able to conquer the disease. The couple then embarked on the Check Your Headlights campaign to raise awareness about the disease.