Sure as the Sun goes down over the Mississippi, Dan Montgomery
makes good records. Gone
's one of the best, bubbling over with give-me-more guitar tones, gorgeous production and real, honest to god songs.
Montgomery's a literate pop craftsman, in love with classics and not afraid to wink and blow sweet kisses to folks like the Everly Brothers, Beatles and Supremes
is a mixed 10-track box shifting fluidly between hooky blue-collar rock, earnest honky tonk, and sweet soul shuffles, with the odd nod to 80's top-40 and 60's psyche.
"Falling Down," is a catchy as hell opener. Doing the dance is easy too according to Montgomery. "All it takes is two good knees." The hardest part is always getting up. Robert Mache's warm, shimmering guitars, and Candace Mache's backing vocals are sugar in the bowl of this and every ditty collected here.
On a disc with plenty of highlights tracks tracks 2 and 3 stand out. "She's Gone,"
has an overdriven Garage heart with a beautiful bit of sardonic laughter buried in the mix. When everything's in the rearview mirror, what else is there to do? "Sleeping Beauty,"
opens with a snatch of, "All I Have to Do is Dream,"
but quickly switches gears and grows into a middle-aged answer to "Wake Up Little Susie." Like one of those new fangled alarm clocks that call you to consciousness gently Jeremy Scott's sunny (to partly-cloudy) bass line is a terrific counterpoint to a song so sad and urgent. Realizing half a life's been slept away Montgomery pleads with his sleeping love to open her eyes and live. Edged with hope and still heartbreaking.
"Look at Us Now,"
is a country genre song about how those young people framed and hung up on the wall barely resemble the older folks they turn into. Pitch perfect.
ends with two dissimilar songs that work great together. "Gotta Go,"
is a rockabilly hip shaker with a big horn section that basically dials up Huey Lewis and invites his "Heart of Rock and Roll,"
to a knife fight. Then, after all that muscle and sweat, the band drops away for "A Little Tear."
The closer finds Montgomery the troubadour picking plaintively and trying to make sense of the things we remember vs. the things we forget. "I could stay angry forever," he sings in the signature moment of what could be a signature song. "But lately I don't see the good that it does." Like the man says, there's no shame in a little tear, and somewhere Burl Ives
is shedding one.