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Album Review: Bonnie Montgomery – Forever

Artist: Bonnie Montgomery

Album: Forever

Year: 2018

Label: Independent

Genre: Honky Tonk, Classic Country

This week’s album, Forever, is actually an unlikely review candidate. One I’ve had on the list for a very long time, but found myself skipping over week after week. To get to the root of why, I took it upon myself to tackle this album head on because it wasn’t that I didn’t like it. Not at all! I actually quite enjoyed the production, style, and, of course, I was intrigued by its inspiration.

Forever is a concept album inspired by Willie Nelson’s Phases and Stages. Although inspired by the red-headed stranger, Bonnie Montgomery’s Forever also brings to mind Carlene Carter’s Little Love Letters album—at least structure wise with that same theme, forever, reappearing like the key number of a motion picture soundtrack, or in Montgomery’s case, a symphony.

You can hear her classical opera training in her strong, sustained vibrato, but it’s her light, airy tone that is the most interesting to me. Admittedly, Forever was not an instant hit, but the more I listened and broke it down (keeping in mind the project that was it’s inspiration), the more I liked, admired, and even came to grow quite fond of it. It’s quite neat to listen to an entire album that stays on the same topic and tells a story chronologically like this. As someone who also enjoys a good book, these albums, Forever in particular, are able to paint a similar picture that a few hundred words on a page are able to.

According to the Arkansas native, “The songs are about life on the road, loss, and the mysticism of West Texas. We recorded it with love and magic in Austin, Texas at Dale Watson’s Ameripolitan Studios.” Songs like “Alleyways and Castles,” “Comets,” and “Desert Flower” are perfect examples of just that. There is some incredible variation in her style as well, while “Comets” really touches on her classical opera training with its symphonic feel, “No More” channels her inner Loretta Lynn in all her feistiness, and “Goin’ Out Tonight” featuring Dale Watson is one of the greatest Bonnie and Clyde-esque songs I’ve ever heard. As a whole, Forever makes quite the diverse project, while track by track I’m positive that there’s something for everyone.

Favourite songs: No More, Thunder, Goin’ Out Tonight, Desert Flower

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