I have started and stopped this feature so many times over the weekend, which tells me I was not quite ready to approach it. Not sure if I am ready now, so bear with me. We all know God has plans for us when he puts us on this earth and that he knows when we have maxed out our time. Yet we are never ready to make that exit, we always think we have one more day. For country artist Troy Gentry, his last day fell on Friday, September 8, 2017 in a horrific helicopter crash in New Jersey. God felt his work on earth was done and he needed to come home.
But we all can agree we didn’t think it was his time, that it was so unfair to his family, his long-time duo partner, Eddie Montgomery, the band, all his friends and the millions of fans who have been with them throughout their illustrious career. Shock, tears, prayers and shared moments spread throughout the country world from all over. Even after the days have passed it is something we cannot seem to wrap our thoughts around, it’s a tough one.
Troy Lee Gentry was born April 5, 1967 in Lexington, KY and remained proud of his roots. Starting up from the world of honky tonks with his longtime friend Eddie Montgomery, the pair went on to release their first album, ‘Tattoos & Scars” in 1999 to great reviews and success. The duo, whose trademark sound combined Southern Rock and Country, scored a string of No. 1 hits, including “If You Ever Stop Loving Me,” “Something to Be Proud Of,” “Lucky Man,” “Back When I Knew It All” and “Roll With Me.” They achieved Platinum certification on three of their albums and Gold certification on three others.
The proudest moment of professional achievement for the duo was in 2009 when they became members of the venerable Grand Ole Opry, having been invited by one of the heroes, Charlie Daniels. That same year Troy and Eddie were honored with the Academy of Country Music’s Humanitarian Award for all their unwavering support of the USO, T.J. Martell Foundation and Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Troy Gentry had a smile that would light up every room he walked into. His personality was bigger than life and welcoming to all who knew him. When he was on the stage at every concert he gave his all, him and Eddie never let up from beginning to end, an end no fan wanted to see coming. You were part of them, they called their fans their FRIENDS and that is just how they made you feel. I am that longtime fan that enjoyed their musical dynamic but grew to appreciate them more the year they toured with Toby Keith in 2008. I saw numerous shows and always wanted more.
As time passed, attending many shows, working on this site and a trip to Country On The Beach for the T.J. Martell Foundation in Key West, FL our friendship grew. He met my daughter there that year, then saw her a couple years later at a show and treated her like he knew her forever. He always greeted me with a hug and a smile, asked about me, the family and what the heck I had been up to. He had that way to make sure you knew he cared about your life and that he appreciated you being a part of his in some way. He was hard working, the life he built with Eddie can never be matched, they were THE BEST country duo next to Brooks and Dunn and will never be another like them.
We were fortunate to have grabbed them for a few visits we want to share here in 2015 and here at 2017 CMA Fest.
(2017 Inaugural Warren Peace Ride at CMA Fest w Storme Warren)
Troy was guided by his faith, his love for his family and his willingness to do what he could for others. Many artists today will tell you how much his mentoring through the years have meant to them. In my mind, he was a solid individual, with flaws like the rest of us, yet someone whom I could proudly say I knew and admired. When he spoke of his wife Angie, his daughters Taylor and Kaylee his eyes had an extra sparkle of love, for they were his world outside of his musical career, a place where he could unwind and enjoy time off the road.
Troy and Eddie had planned to release their completed album of new music on their Average Joes Entertainment label in 2018 to mark their 20th anniversary as a duo. We all must, in some way make sure that comes to fruition.
I am not saying good-bye, for Troy Gentry will always live on in his music, in my heart, in the memories he left behind, the love he has for his family and all who knew him as he walked through this earth. I will miss that smile, that hug, that, ‘Hey girl, what ya been up to,’ and his bigger than life stage presence. I pray that Eddie will let God wrap his arms around him and comfort him through this tragic time and know that he was so loved by his best friend, partner and brother. I pray for the guys in the band and all the crew who have been the road warriors for all these years. Also, prayers for the Gentry and Montgomery families that in time they find peace and strength in the love and memories Troy has left behind, for he was given the gift of life and he unwrapped that gift of all the layers in the best way he knew how.
A public celebration of Gentry’s life will take place Thursday, Sept. 14 at 11 a.m. CT at the Grand Ole Opry House, located at 2804 Opryland Drive, Nashville, TN. 37214. A private, family internment will follow. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to T.J. Martell Foundation or The American Red Cross for hurricane relief.
For those unable to attend, a live stream of the service can be viewed here on Thursday
We can all take his favorite Bible verse by Deuteronomy 31:6, to heart, which says, “Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Those hillbilly shoes lead you to the stairs of heaven, rest in peace Troy Gentry, you will be greatly missed and never forgotten. You left behind, “Something To Be Proud Of.”