Singer-songwriter Randy Montana's self-titled debut album clings to the rough edges of country's musical highway with its compelling storytelling and vivid imagery combined with a raw but rocking guitar-driven sound. He makes a powerful statement with his debut project, and critics have quickly taken notice. Southern Living named Montana as one of five "Best New Artists" in its Best of the South issue, stating, "The raspy-voiced Montana breaks the genre's mold but respects its heritage." USA Today's Brian Mansfield called Montana's "1,000 Faces" his first favorite song of 2011, while People calls him "a must-hear artist."
He spent much of 2010 on the road, touring the nation with artists such as Sugarland and Little Big Town. "It was quite a learning experience, being a part of something where they put 12,000 - 14,000 people in seats a night," he says of touring with Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush. "Kristian said one of the coolest things at the end of the tour. He said, 'Thanks for keeping the musical integrity of this tour.' That meant a lot coming from a guy like that."
It was on this tour that Montana saw firsthand the strong and immediate connection people have to "1,000 Faces," and this was months before it was played on country radio. "It's incredible to play that song live," says Montana, who wrote it with Tom Douglas. "People come up and say, '1,000 Faces' was my favorite song of the night.' It's fun to play it live because you get this whole burst of energy yourself."
Montana's boundary-free music captures the yearning of restless young men who are in a hurry to take life as far as they can, men who are sometimes too caught up in the moments of passion to have thoughts of regret. His gravelly voice, which sounds older than his years, tells of temptation and consequences while painting musical portraits of wheels turning, fires burning and women scribbling phone numbers on matchbooks.
Montana is a songwriter's son who has found his own voice and quickly earned respect as a tunesmith on Music Row. He co-wrote nine songs on his eponymous album, and Montgomery Gentry recorded the Montana-penned "Can't Feel the Pain." Emmylou Harris was so impressed by Montana's talent that she harmonizes with him on "Last Horse."
His father is Billy Montana, whose hits include Garth Brooks' "More Than a Memory," Sara Evans' "Suds in the Bucket" and the Grammy-nominated Jo Dee Messina hit "Bring on the Rain." "Growing up around it, it took me awhile to come into my own," he says. "I never worried about being in a shadow or anything like that. But I also wanted to achieve that same kind of songwriting level that my dad achieved."
Montana was born in Albany, N.Y., and moved with his family to Nashville in 1988 when Billy signed a record deal with Warner Bros. He started playing guitar at age 10, writing songs at age 16 and performed his first song publicly at one of his father's writers' nights at age 17. "I always grew up around music, watching him do it," says Montana, who listened to Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Jackson Browne on family road trips. "I kind of grew up next to a stage. Anytime the family got together, the guitars came out." He was an award-winning high school quarterback, earning All-State honors for leading the state in passing yards and touchdowns his junior and senior years. He now applies that same dedication and discipline to the music industry. "Thanks to our concert sponsors: Emery County, Emery County Recreation, Emery County Travel Bureau, Tony Basso GM, Rocky Mountain Power, Desertview Federal Credit Union, Consol Energy, Emery Telcom, Blue Castle Holdings and Industrial Electric"