John Michael Montgomery (born January 20, 1965, in Danville, Kentucky) is an American country music artist. He has produced more than thirty singles on the Billboard country charts, including two of Billboard’s Number One country singles of the year: "I Swear" (1994) and "Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)" (1995). Besides these two songs, five more of Montgomery's singles have reached the top of the country charts: "I Love the Way You Love Me", "Be My Baby Tonight", "If You've Got Love", "I Can Love You Like That", and "The Little Girl", while thirteen more have reached Top Ten. Montgomery's recordings of "I Swear" and "I Can Love You Like That" were both released concurrently with R&B versions by the group All-4-One. Montgomery has also released eleven studio albums, counting a Christmas album. The most recent, Time Flies, was released on his own Stringtown label in late 2008.
Born Jan. 20, 1965, in Danville, Kentucky and raised and lived in Garrard County, Kentucky, Montgomery received musical encouragement from his father, who performed in a local country band and taught his son his first chords. John Michael joined the family band (which also included his brother, Eddie Montgomery, who would later join Troy Gentry in the duo Montgomery Gentry) as guitarist before taking the lead singing role when his parents divorced. Afterwards, he made a frugal living on the local honky-tonk scene as a solo artist playing what he referred to as "working man's country." Eventually, Atlantic Records signed him.
John Michael Montgomery arrived on the country music scene in 1992 with a debut album, Life's a Dance, that became the only million-seller on the country charts by a new artist that year. Its title track was a #4 hit single and was followed by his first country chart-topper, "I Love the Way You Love Me" (also a #60 pop hit), and the #21 "Beer and Bones". "I Love the Way You Love Me" was named Single of the Year by the Academy of Country Music, and Life's a Dance earned triple-platinum RIAA certification.
Montgomery's second album was 1994's Kickin' It Up. This album was led off by the Number One country and #42 pop hit "I Swear", which was also the Number One country hit for the entire year according to Billboard Year-End. After this song came the #4 "Rope the Moon", and two more Number Ones in "Be My Baby Tonight" and "If You've Got Love". "I Swear" gained further success a year later, when it was covered by pop group All-4-One. Kickin' It Up also sold even higher than his debut, earning a quadruple platinum certification for shipments of four million copies.
In 1995, he released his self-titled third studio album. Also a quadruple-platinum seller, it accounted for five hit singles, including the Number One hits "I Can Love You Like That" and "Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)". Like "I Swear" before it, the former was covered by All-4-One, while the latter was also declared the Number One country hit of 1995 on the Billboard Year-End charts. After this pair of Number One hits came the #3 "No Man's Land", then two consecutive #4 singles in "Cowboy Love" and "Long as I Live." Also included on the album was "Holdin' On to Something", which was a Top Ten country hit in early 1996 for Jeff Carson. At the end of 1995, Montgomery placed his career on hiatus due to a vocal cord injury.
What I Do the Best was the title of his fourth studio album, released by Atlantic in 1996. This was the first album of his career not to produce a Number One country hit. It also failed to match the sales of its predecessors, although it still earned platinum certification. This album was led off by the #15 "Ain't Got Nothin' On Us", which despite debuting in the Top 40 its first week on the charts, also became his first single since 1993's "Beer and Bones" to miss Top Ten. He regained his chart momentum with three more Top Ten hits off the same album: "Friends" at #2, "I Miss You a Little" at #6 and "How Was I to Know" also at #2. After this album, he released a Greatest Hits album in 1997, which reprised his greatest hits to that point and went platinum in the United States. It also included the new song "Angel in My Eyes", which was a #4 single for him that year. Also in 1997, Montgomery sang guest vocals on "Warning Signs", a #56-peaking musical track which included snippets from a Bill Engvall comedy sketch.
In 1998, Montgomery released his fifth album, Leave a Mark. This album contained a more pop-oriented sound than his previous work. Despite only earning a gold certification from the RIAA, it accounted for three more hit singles. First was "Love Working on You" at #14, followed by "Cover You in Kisses" at #3 and "Hold On to Me" at #4. Despite having several of his singles cross over to the pop charts, "Hold On to Me" was his first Top 40 pop hit, reaching #33 on the Hot 100.
Home to You, his sixth album, continued to move Montgomery into adult contemporary-leaning material, and continued his declining album sales. It produced a #15 in "Hello L.O.V.E." and a #2 in its title track, although the next two singles — "Nothing Catches Jesus by Surprise" and "You Are" — both fell short of Top 40, with the former being his first single to do so.
Montgomery returned to the top of the country charts for the first time since 1995 with "The Little Girl". This song, featuring backing vocals from Alison Krauss and inspired by an urban legend, was the first single from his 2000 album Brand New Me, spending three weeks at Number One and reaching #35 on the Hot 100. Despite the success of this song, however, Montgomery again found his chart success declining after "The Little Girl", as the album's other two singles — "That's What I Like About You" and "Even Then" — both failed to reach Top 40, although Brand New Me earned a gold certification. By the end of the year, Montgomery was also moved from Atlantic to parent label Warner Bros. Records after Atlantic closed its Nashville branch.
His first release for Warner Bros. was 2002's Pictures. This album saw minimal success in its chart singles, with lead-off "Til Nothing Comes Between Us" reaching #19 and the next two singles ("Country Thang" and "Four Wheel Drive") once again missing Top 40. The album was followed a year later by Mr. Snowman, a Christmas album, in 2003, as well as a compilation entitled The Very Best of John Michael Montgomery.
Montgomery's last Warner Bros. release was 2004's Letters from Home. Although its lead-off single "Cool" failed to chart entirely, the title track became his biggest crossover hit with a #2 country and #24 pop peak. Despite the success of this single, however, the album's only other release, "Goes Good with Beer", peaked at #51, and after its release, Montgomery exited his label.
After an off-key performance of the National Anthem at a televised NASCAR event in March, 2005, Montgomery confirmed on his website that he had a condition known as acoustic neuroma, which is a non-cancerous growth that interferes with a nerve running between the brain and the ear. This condition can affect balance and hearing and can certainly make singing or any kind of public performing quite difficult for the patient. The problem was corrected, however, and did not alter Montgomery's touring schedule for the rest of 2005.
At 2:20 a.m. on February 16, 2006, Montgomery was arrested at an intersection in Lexington, Kentucky for driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance, which was identified as Endocet by the Lexington Herald-Leader. Police also found two loaded handguns in Montgomery's vehicle. Montgomery was charged with a count of a prescription drug not in its proper container, two counts of carrying a concealed deadly weapon, disregarding a traffic control device and performing an improper turn.
Montgomery's lawyer, Jon Woodall, has claimed that Montgomery is a hunter, and holds a concealed weapon permit, though Montgomery did not have the license with him at the time of arrest. Woodall also stated that the prescription was filled by Montgomery's physicians after Montgomery's recent hip replacement surgery .He has since been found not guilty of all charges. Montgomery pleaded no-contest to the charge of DUI, stating that he did not admit guilt, but the state had enough evidence to convict him.
On May 9, 2008, Montgomery announced he was in rehab for an undisclosed substance abuse problem. Although not released at the time he sought rehab at a drug treatment facility in Hazard, KY. The addiction was cited to severe anxiety attacks and a sleep disorder.
In late 2008, Montgomery founded his own label, Stringtown Records. That year, he released his next album, "Time Flies". This album produced three singles: "Mad Cowboy Disease", "If You Ever Went Away", and "Forever." Although the first two both failed to chart, "Forever" peaked at #28 on the country charts, representing his first chart entry in over four years. He also sang duet vocals on the title track to Colt Ford's debut album Ride Through the Country.
Official Website: http://johnmichael.musiccitynetworks.com/