Search - John Michael Montgomery :: Letters From Home

Letters From Home
John Michael Montgomery
Letters From Home
Genres: Country, Pop
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

John Michael Montgomery has weathered a number of personal and professional storms since his 1992 debut, but a label change in 2000 jumpstarted his career, and now the title track of Letters from Home has made him a conten...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: John Michael Montgomery
Title: Letters From Home
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 2
Label: Warner Bros / Wea
Release Date: 4/20/2004
Genres: Country, Pop
Styles: Today's Country, Neotraditional
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 093624872924, 054391645067, 093624872962

John Michael Montgomery has weathered a number of personal and professional storms since his 1992 debut, but a label change in 2000 jumpstarted his career, and now the title track of Letters from Home has made him a contender again. While producer Byron Gallimore stocks the album with substantial songs ("Look at Me Now," "Cool") that contain a heart-tugging nugget of private truth, it's "Letters from Home" that will leave you bawling. Whether you're pro- or antiwar doesn't matter: its strength lies in the way it puts a personal face on a faraway army. There's more eloquence in this soldier's internal monologue than there is in the text of the letters, and Montgomery's vocal--as lean as a G.I.'s rations--drives home the authenticity of the moment, which unveils so many hidden hurts and disappointments and fears among his platoon. Like "Good Ground," the song that precedes it, "Letters" points up the importance, responsibility, and identity of belonging. Country music handles this theme better than any other genre, and Montgomery, now a family man himself, imbues his readings not just as a hit maker, but as a man who knows his own place in the parade of life. And just maybe, country music history. --Alanna Nash

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CD Reviews

A good, solid country music album!
DanD | 09/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"John Michael Montgomery has asserted himself as a radio mainstay in the nineties. Though he got little airplay since then--"The Little Girl" is the only hit I can think of--this album promises to deliver him back into the spotlight. He has left behind the twang of his previous efforts, and has chosen a good selection of substantial, well-written and BELIEVEABLE material.

LETTERS begins with "Good Ground," an uptempo number about family and love that continues on most of the other songs. The title track is a gut-wrenching number (admit it, you had a tear in your eye when you first heard it) that indeed stands out, but is not the only good tune on here. "Look At Me Now" is a confessional number about growing older, while "Cool" deals with the consequences faced in life.

"That's What I'm Talkin About" is a romp that manages to skewer gossipers AND contain suggestive lyrics (a similar vein is followed on "Little Devil"). "Goes Good With Beer" is destined to become a honky-tonk classic, while "Break This Chain" is pretty much it's opposite--the story of a man from a long line of alcoholics praying for the strenght to defeat his curse. "That Changes Everything" shows us the surprise directions life can take, while "It Rocked" lets us know that life's greatest moments and sensations come from the simple things.

LETTERS FROM HOME is easily John Michael Montgomery's best album. While Montgomery has situated himself as frontman for radio-friendly music (ironically, big-brother Eddie is doing the same thing for outlaw country), he shows us that he does indeed know what a good country song is about...His voice is neither world-class nor run-of-the-mill, but he uses it for all it's worth, and it's worth a pretty penny. LETTERS FROM HOME will make you cry, make you laugh, make you sing, and even--if you're really in the mood--make you dance. A great album by one of today's best performers."
D. McAllister | Somewhere in the Field | 09/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I admit that I bought this album for the title track alone. After all, had that been the only good track on this CD I still would have felt that it was worth my money.

But the title track is just the beginning for this fine country offering by John Michael Montgomery. I found myself listening to and enjoying every track on LETTERS FROM HOME. Montgomery's smoother-than-silk voice is one of the finest in country music today and his straight-forward approach to his music comes through in every note. You won't want to miss this one.

Crabby Apple Mick Lee | INDIANAPOLIS, IN USA | 05/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Thematically, Letters From Home is similar to Tracy Lawrence's Strong. Both focus on the importance of family, home, and life as it is lived on the human scale over against the larger concerns of the outside world. Neither one claims that the affairs of the world "don't amount up to a hill of beans compared to you and me, baby"; but they do remind in this post-911 world that family and home are what it's all about.Unlike Lawrence, Montgomery is more treasured as "the voice". Vocally, he is more a baritone than a tenor and is more soothing to the ears-a little more "western" and "cowboy" sometimes. Montgomery also is more known for some plainly sentimental songs in the past such as "I Love the Way You Love Me" and "I Can Love You Like That". He has a special attraction, many woman claim, because he can sing tenderly and tug at the heartstrings. This can backfire on any artist because if he does this too often he will soon not be taken seriously. And Montgomery has teetered close to the edge several times in his career.Lawrence's Strong dealt with the refuge of family and home and the dangers that could take it all away. Montgomery chooses to focus more on the human ties that make up this sanctuary.The CD begins with a particularly "southern" interest in "Good Ground". The song runs at a fair clip in country rock fashion. One can wonder at the value of a bunch of dirt beyond what it can do for crops but the singer isn't talking about agriculture. It is about a sense of "place" and how home nurtures life and is the scene where children and families gather the wealth of experience and affection to live life."Letters From Home" (the first single) is a moderately "walking" tune about the things family members say to soldier children who are in dangerous places far away. Sometimes it is when we are afraid we will lose them we finally say what it is we want them to know. It is simple and suggestive-imagine it is a popular but difficult song to hear if you are a soldier or Marine in Afghanistan or Iraq."That's What I'm Talking About" celebrates to joys of a man and a woman. "Look At Me Now" is an object lesson about "I did everything right but I got it all wrong". The song is open to interpretation; but "you see, all that I've done doesn't matter at all/ it's what I leave here when I'm gone" suggests that the family the singer did not have on the path to success was the "pearl of great price" he foolishly did not grasp."Goes Good With Beer" is a little bit of comic relief and every bit the good-timey country tune it sounds like. A song that champions the pleasure of life in a world of trouble, it surely will be an upcoming popular hit."Cool" runs over the same theme as Kenny Chesney's "There Goes My Life" from the viewpoint of a son who doesn't understand why his dad isn't more "with it". Some may complain that it is just an "anti-abortion" song. It is every bit of that; but it is more about a man who holds to honor and obligation rather than the fashion of the day."It Rocked" is the closest Montgomery gets to an outright rock song. Again, it harks back to the country/rock sound of the 1970's; but it swings. Like "That Changes Everything" that follows it, it is about the personal anchors in life that keep us grounded and make life meaningful."Break This Chain" is about getting away from what gets between us and the ones we love. "Little Devil" seems a little out of place except as a light and fun end to some serious stuff. After all, the mild mannered girl the singer wants to skinny dip with in the Jacuzzi could be just a one-night stand for all we know. No one says it's his wife or girlfriend. And the sly little "this can be our little secret/we don't have to tell no one" is undoubtedly suggestive. But this is country music! We can't all be so solemn and dead serious all the time. Besides, some of the best families come out of an indecent skinny dip.Home. Hearth. Family. Sex. These are things that make a great nation. In this case, they also make a great CD."