Country artist Bonnie Montgomery ropes together elements of country-western romps with honky-tonk hooks, bluegrass twirls, Flamenco guitar trimmings, and baroque-style orchestral strings on her new full-length release, Forever. A mixture of Bobbie Gentry’s raw-grit timbres with Dolly Parton’s storytelling proclivity and the Zac Brown Band’s affection for mountain dance / Ozark folk melodies, Montgomery’s multi-faceted assortment fashions an unique niche for herself in country music.
Country-pop romps like “Alleyways and Castles” and “No More” have a honky-tonk prowess that can compare to the best in the genre. The slow-simmering cinders of “Comets” are trussed in swirling acoustics with Flamenco guitar chords and baroque-style orchestral strings. The bluegrass sleeves of “Desert Flower” are reminiscent of Parton’s country sonnets. The poetic verses ruminate thoughtfully, “Sometimes, the wind just blows so cold / Sometimes, the cold just cuts to the bone / Sometimes, the darkness just grows / Sometimes, snow just seems to glow / Baby, how it glows / Like a flower in the desert / Sweet Baby of mine.”
The country-western atmospherics of “Fairy Tales” have an Ozark folk polish, nestled in the amber-toned vibrations of the steel guitar and the tenor pipes of the fiddle’s strings. The title track (“Forever”) has four variations, each highlighting a different gradation in country music’s spectrum. “Forever” is strapped in thumping beats and whipping strings with a square dance briskness. “Forever Instrumental” is clad in smoldering notes, illuminating bright tones in the spiraling motifs of the fiddle and Flamenco guitar. “Forever Intro” pairs Spanish-flavored guitar chords with light bouncy strings, and “Forever Interlude” has a smooth fluid motion, propelled by silky strings.
The honky-tonk beats driving “Goin’ Out Tonight” produce a series of square dance-like twirls, as Montgomery’s duet with baritone vocalist Dale Watson tells the tale of lovers who turned into outlaws. It follows the stages of the classic Bonnie and Clyde trope. The recording closes with “Thunder,” a country-pop ballad with shimmering orchestral strings and animated infractions in the steel guitar, as though the instrument could channel human feelings.
Bonnie Montgomery’s new release presents the artist as a modern-day country troubadour. Her assortment of torchlight ballads, honky-tonk romps, and frolicking square dances make her a diversified artist. A native of Arkansas, Montgomery shows her worldly attributes as a multi-faceted singer and songwriter.