John Michael Montgomery - Greatest Hits
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Greatest Hits (Atlantic, 1997)

John Michael Montgomery

Reviewed by Walter Allread

No singer filled the Hot New Country market's needs like the Hunk in the Hat. Introduced like a product, John Michael Montgomery was a fitter Garth wrapped snugly in worn denim and tight t's. Small wonder his best-of set is packaged like an ad for JMM Jeans. (Wrangler gets special thanks) JMM hits targeted divorcees ("No Man's Land"), fantasizing suburbanites ("Cowboy Love"), newlyweds ("I Swear") and delusional honky-tonkers ("Beer and Bones").

The new - and demographically "sensitive" - "Angel in My Eyes" aims at touchy-feely lovers, new parents (like Montgomery) and the thousands who buy anything alluding to winged ones. Montgomery's overly forceful delivery (spitting out "sometimes we fight") reflects a tendency toward inch-deep interpretation; he now admits "Rope the Moon" "didn't have a whole lot of meaning to me" when recorded. "Friends" and "I Miss You A Little" show more emotional investment, proving Montgomery's no merely competent salesman.

The challenge is now to let Montgomery, the singer, mature while keeping sales of JMM, the product, hot.


CDs by John Michael Montgomery

Time Flies, 2008


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