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Letters from Home
     

Letters from Home

by John Michael Montgomery
 
Although John Michael Montgomery's new album has its share of wailing guitars, screaming fiddles, and big, booming drums, its tuneful songs reflect an artist in a state of introspection and reassessment. "Good Ground," the propulsive ballad that opens the album, connects father, son, and grandchildren to a bountiful earth that produces precious memories as well as

Overview

Although John Michael Montgomery's new album has its share of wailing guitars, screaming fiddles, and big, booming drums, its tuneful songs reflect an artist in a state of introspection and reassessment. "Good Ground," the propulsive ballad that opens the album, connects father, son, and grandchildren to a bountiful earth that produces precious memories as well as sustenance. The somber, swaying title song rides along on gently picked acoustic guitar and dobro lines, as Montgomery sings of a G.I. longing for the blessings of his faraway home while savoring correspondence from parents and loved ones. A successful but unfulfilled businessman wonders where he went wrong after a carefree youth in "Look at Me Now," a tale told deliberately in quiet verses and surging choruses underscored by angular pedal steel lines and evocative mandolin punctuations. Enmeshed in the rich layers of acoustic instruments fueling "Cool" is the cautionary tale of the father of a rebellious teenager taking stock of his own rowdy youth, when he thought his own father as square as his son now regards him; Montgomery's wry delivery makes the point that what goes around comes around, including a bit of wisdom gained with experience. It's not all so serious, though. "Goes Good with Beer," a title that pretty much says it all, stomps mightily as Montgomery issues a rallying cry to anyone who wants to kick out the jams on a Friday night. Bruising southern boogie drives a potent, greasy pickup ode, "Little Devil," with Montgomery rolling out his most salacious vocal yet in beckoning a good girl to go bad, at least for a night. Appealing to the mind, body, and soul, Letters from Home is an ambitious work that never forgets to be accessible, musical, or, at the right moment, plain fun.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Theoretically, the record that follows a greatest-hits album offers artists an opportunity to redefine themselves, to try something new, or at least jump to a new label. On Letters From Home, John Michael Montgomery's first album since the comprehensive 2003 collection The Very Best Of, the country singer doesn't do any of these things. He's continuing in the mellow, nostalgic direction of his last album, 2002's Pictures, toning down some of his rowdier ways and settling into middle age. He's not alone in retreating toward the familiar. Many of his peers have also spent much of the first part of the 2000s basking in nostalgia and patriotism, which is a reasonable response to 9/11. Unlike Toby Keith or Alan Jackson, Montgomery never mentions the terrorist attacks explicitly on Letters From Home, but the title track is from the perspective of a soldier overseas and on "That's What I'm Talking About" he turns away from the talk of war by slipping under the covers. The entire album is basked in a warm, burnished nostalgia, which suits Montgomery's rich baritone well, even if the preponderance of slow songs can make the record a little sleepy; even the handful of faster songs, such as the endearingly silly "It Rocked" and the closer, "Little Devil" (which is the closest this comes to honky tonk, thanks to its sawing fiddle and twangy guitars), are relaxed, not energized, which actually helps give the album cohesion. The end result is not Montgomery's best album, but it's a sturdy work that showcases the country crooner what he does best: smoothly singing heartache tunes, odes to the past, and love songs. It may not be a new beginning, but fans aren't likely to complain, either.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/20/2004
Label:
Warner Bros / Wea
UPC:
0093624872924
catalogNumber:
48729

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John Michael Montgomery   Primary Artist
Mark Casstevens   Banjo
Stuart Duncan   Fiddle
Larry Franklin   Fiddle
Paul Franklin   Steel Guitar
Byron Gallimore   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Horn,Synthesizer Strings,Guitar (Electric Baritone)
B. James Lowry   Acoustic Guitar
Brent Mason   Electric Guitar
Steve Nathan   Keyboards
Russ Pahl   Steel Guitar
Michael Rhodes   Bass
Biff Watson   Acoustic Guitar
Lonnie Wilson   Drums
Glenn Worf   Bass
Russell Terrell   Background Vocals
Kirk "Jelly Roll" Johnson   Harmonica
Tom Bukovac   Electric Guitar

Technical Credits

Paul Overstreet   Composer
Harley Allen   Composer
Brian Daly   Composer
Keith Drummond   Art Direction
Byron Gallimore   Producer,Vocal Engineer,Vocal Producer
Julian King   Engineer
John Kunz   Vocal Engineer
John Michael Montgomery   Producer,Liner Notes
Billy Yates   Composer
Naoise Sheridan   Composer
Tom Shapiro   Composer
Tony Lane   Composer
Carol Buckley Frazier   grooming
Jim Collins   Composer
Bill Luther   Composer
Vicky McGehee   Composer
Casey Beathard   Composer
Blair Daly   Composer
Mike Geiger   Composer
Erik Lutkins   Engineer
Brice Long   Composer
Darren Welch   Art Direction
Danny Orton   Composer
D. Vincent Williams   Composer

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