A very successful star during the 1990’s hat act country boom, John Michael Montgomery has seen his share of hits and is at a point in his career where new hits aren’t exactly required to have successful concert tours. Still, if he can find a periodic hit like “The Little Girl” or “Letters Form Home,” John Michael is able tour even longer around that one hit. That seems to be what is at the root of John Michael Montgomery’s latest album and first for his own record label “Stringtown Records.”
Produced with Byron Gallimore, “Time Fles” straddles the line between what helped define John Michael as a star artist and the sonic textures that keep the record from sounding dated. No other song is this more evident on than on the single at the release of the album, “Forever.” Written by James Slater (“In My Daughter’s Eyes” and “That’s Why God Made Mexico”), the song finds John Michael tossing out reasons why he wants to get married to a girl, “every little smile you make is like a dagger to my heat, took my breath away, all I ask is that you be mine forever.” While “Sold” may be the biggest hit of his career, John Michael has always had a way with ballads and “Forever” shows just why, he sounds more passionate on it. “With My Shirt On,” which is written by Luke Bryan, Kelley Lovelace and Lee Thomas Miller, features a honky-tonk melody that helps drive a silly song about a guy who’s just as body conscious as most women. While he pleads that his wife is still a 10, he doesn’t quite feel that way. So feeling a bit defeated, he wants to leave his shirt on when it’s baby makin’ time.
Jamey Johnson contributed three tracks on the record (two of them were co-written with buddy Jeremy Popoff, the lead singer of rock band Lit). “What Did I Do” is a fun little uptempo 90’s style honky tonker while “Lets Get Lost” is a pleading love song. “Mad Cowboy Disease” was the original lead single from the album and given John Michael’s personal addiction battles, it seemed like an odd choice for a single, even if it was fun. Jamey’s buddy, Universal South singer/songwriter Randy Houser, co-wrote the second single that was released off of Time Flies. Written by Randy and Daryl Burgess, “If You Ever Went Away” is another song that lists off what a guy would do if he didn’t have his lady in his life, it might ‘seem better’ on the surface but it wouldn’t be the same.
“Fly On” is an interesting song in that it finds Montgomery tackling what it feels like to be a guy who saw the writing on the wall to let his ‘sweet angel’ leave so she could find herself wherever she needed to go. Songwriter Dan Demay has a gift for melody and phrase and he partnered up with Daryl Burgess to write “All In A Day.” The song uses the Day as a metaphor for how fleeting life is. It feels like one can put moments of life into slides and “show the million moments in the time it takes the sun to fade, and it feels like it all happened in a day.” It’s a touching, well-written song. John co-wrote “Brothers ‘Til The End” with Phil O’Donnell and Gary Hannan, guys who are also friends with John Michael’s brother Eddie. The three authors wrote a song that is a life-story in the form of a song.
While radio might not fully get behind John Michael Montgomery’s latest album “Time Flies,” That doesn’t mean that the album isn’t a pretty good one. It’s full of well-written songs from top-shelf songwriters, strong vocal performances and just about everything John Michael Montgomery’s fans have come to expect from him.