By Jof Owen
As a classically trained opera singer with her own folk-opera running in New York and the Ameripolitan Awards' ‘Outlaw Female’ of the year, Bonnie Montgomery is simply living the modern day cowgirl's dream.
Trotting into town on a half-time country funk backbeat with a phase-shifted Telecaster tucked firmly in the pocket, her new single ’Modern Day Cowgirl’s Dream’ sounds like Waylon sitting in on a Jeannie C. Riley session, as she recounts her tales of a misspent life well spent out on the road in Texas.
"It’s an outlaw country jam inspired by honky tonkin' around Texas,” Bonnie Montgomery explains. “It's about some wild times in and around Houston and Austin - involving cowboys, neon nights, jumping in the cold springs and crashing at Miss Whitney Rose's house (she also sang on the track) - and waking up just to do it all over again, like a small town cowgirl's dream on repeat.”
The accompanying music video, directed by actor, singer, Broadway-veteran, and GRAMMY-winner Zachary James, begins with an iconic lollipop drop as Bonnie Montgomery does her best Sandy from Grease appearing in the doorway of a local bar backlit like a honky tonk angel sent down from heaven above.
From there on in, it’s just another night out on the road for Bonnie Montgomery. A big gulp of the golden age of country music and getting rowdy with the locals wherever she goes. Any time, any town, anywhere, USA.
“We had fun shooting it at the White Water Tavern in Little Rock, where I’ve played hundreds of times,” remembers Montgomery. “The Shoot turned out a little raunchy and reckless, just like the song.”
‘Modern Day Cowgirl’s Dream’ is premiering exclusively at Holler below. Look out for a cameo from another of our Gar Hole favourites in the video too.
It's the first taste of Bonnie Montgomery’s forthcoming album, River, due out on everybody’s favourite Gar Hole Records in November.
Co-produced with her longtime collaborator Kevin Skrla, Montgomery headed out to Texas to record the album on a sod farm in Dayton where Skrla had built Wolfe Island Recording Co. in the farm's barn, and the two pulled long hours in the studio, creating the bulk of the album themselves.
"This is the most straight-from-the heart album I've ever cut," says Montgomery, "I've always been a multi-genre artist. I have a classical background, but I'm a big fan of soul music and rock, too. Country music was the soundtrack of my childhood. All of that went into River. Making that album felt like the first time I could be me, sing my heart out, and not worry about fitting into any specific box. It was pure. It was freeing."
Raised in rural Arkansas on a soundtrack of southern gospel, Texas swing, Delta blues and Ozark bluegrass, Bonnie Montgomery trained as an opera singer before launching her award-winning career in outlaw country and she fully embraces that diversity on her new album.
Equally inspired by the 1950s and 60s vibe of Owen and Harold Bradley’s Nashville Sound and the genius of George Martin’s production with the Beatles, Montgomery and Skrla entered the studio with a batch of unflinchingly autobiographical songs and left with a stunning album that pulls no punches, and importantly, doesn't limit Montgomery to the country-leaning sounds of her earlier work.
They took inspiration from acts like Bob Seger, Elton John and Linda Ronstadt, crafting a warm, widescreen sound that explored the grey areas between genres. Classical violinist Geoffrey Robson paid a visit to the studio, taking a break from his gig as conductor of the Arkansas Symphony to record the album's string arrangements. Jimmy Daddy Davis and Whitney Rose also stopped by to add vocal harmonies.
After the tracking was complete, they turned to Willie Nelson's team, tapping Steve Chadie to mix the sessions and recruiting Terra Nova Mastering's Jerry Tubb to master the album.
River by Bonnie Montgomery is released on November 3rd. Pre-order or pre-save the album and for all tour dates and ticket information please visit bonniemontgomerymusic.com/shows.
Modern-Day Cowgirl’s Dream
No Way Around It
I Was Fine
Check For Your Time