With her brand new album, River, classically-trained opera singer turned outlaw country frontwoman Bonnie Montgomery nailed down the tricky task of incorporating her entire life’s musical influences into a beautiful, cohesive collection.
“I’ve always been a multi-genre artist,” says Montgomery. “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.”
Equally inspired by the ‘50s and ’60s vibe of Owen and Harold Bradley’s “Nashville Sound” and the genius of George Martin’s groundbreaking production with the Beatles, Montgomery and her co-producer Kevin 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.
River is available now via Gar Hole Records and can be streamed or purchased at this link. Be sure to check out Montgomery’s music video for “Modern Day Cowgirl’s Dream” and find her upcoming tour dates below or at bonniemontgomerymusic.com/shows.
River In The News:
Holler. premiered the first single writing, “Montgomery and Skrla entered the studio with a batch of unflinchingly autobiographical songs and left with a stunning album that pulls no punches…”
The Northwest Arkansas Gazette spoke with Montgomery ahead of the release about her Arkansas roots and the making of River.
On the title track, Glasse Factory wrote, “It’s a song that lingers in your heart and soul long after the last note has played.”
Montgomery joined KUAF for a conversation about the record and her diverse musical past.
Modern-Day Cowgirl’s Dream
No Way Around It
I Was Fine
Check For Your Time
More About River: Montgomery recorded River on a sod farm in Dayton, Texas. Her longtime collaborator and co-producer, Kevin 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. 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.
Catch Bonnie Montgomery On Tour:
Nov. 4 – San Antonio, TX – The Lonesome Rose
Nov. 9 – Austin, TX – Sagebrush
Nov. 10 – Houston, TX – Dan Electro’s
Nov. 17 – Little Rock, AR – White Water Tavern
Nov. 18 – Little Rock, AR – White Water Tavern
Dec. 8 – Fayetteville, AR – George’s Majestic – Gar Hole-idays
May 11-12 – Little Rock, AR – Robinson Auditorium *
* With Arkansas Symphony Orchestra
For future dates and ticket information, please visit bonniemontgomerymusic.com/shows.
More About Bonnie Montgomery: 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. She embraces that diversity with 2023’s River, a versatile record that shows just how broad Montgomery’s vision of American roots music can be. Arriving on the heels of projects like Billy Blythe, her critically acclaimed opera about Bill Clinton’s childhood, and Forever, the 2018 solo record that earned Montgomery the titles of “Best Americana Artist” and “Best Female Vocalist” from the Arkansas County Music Awards, River flows freely from one genre to the next. It’s the crystallization of a sound Montgomery has been creating for years, blurring the boundaries between different formats while presenting Montgomery not only as a powerhouse vocalist but as an autobiographical storyteller and captivating songwriter, too.
More About Gar Hole Records: If you’ve ever been to a place where failure is assured, hardship is welcomed, and the water’s never quite clear, you’ve been to the Gar Hole. Established in the Fall of 2020, Gar Hole Records is the combined brains and brawn of Fayetteville, Arkansas DIYer Kurt DeLashmet and certified Grampa Music enthusiast Nick Shoulders, come together to bring you lovingly tailored tunes for the UnAmericana fan in all of us.