Troy Gentry, half of the veteran country music duo Montgomery Gentry, died today in a helicopter crash at the Flying W Airport & Resort in Bedford, NJ. He was 50. The crash happened at about 1 PM; the band had been scheduled to play a concert there later tonight. The show is canceled.
Local paper The Courier-Post reports that a Schweitzer 269 helicopter crashed in a wooded area near the end of the airport’s Runway 1. It also said another person on the aircraft was killed, but there were no immediate details.
“Troy Gentry’s family wishes to acknowledge all of the kind thoughts and prayers, and asks for privacy at this time,” the duo’s label Average Joes Entertainment said in a posting on its website.
His death comes the same day Country Music Hall of Famer Don Williams died at 78. More on him below.
Teaming singer-guitarist Gentry with vocalist Eddie Montgomery, Montgomery Gentry broke out with its 1999 album Tattoos & Scars and has released seven studio albums since, with all but 2015’s Folks Like Us hitting the country top 10 (it peaked at No. 13.) Its 2005 best-of record hit No. 2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. The band has placed more than 20 singles on the country chart, including 15 top 10 hits and five chart toppers: “If You Ever Stop Loving Me,” “Something to Be Proud Of,” “Lucky Man,” “Back When I Knew It All” and “Roll with Me.”
The duo’s best showing on the pop albums chart was for 2004’s You Do Your Thing, which hit No. 10. Three others made the top 20 of the Billboard charts.
“It’s a chemistry that’s worked for years,” Gentry said of Montgomery Gentry in an interview on the duo’s website. “We have two separate singing styles that when they come together, they’re very identifiable. It doesn’t get old or sterile. The back and forth between our vocals definitely keeps you listening and keeps you interested in the song.”
Troy Gentry was born on April 5, 1967, in Lexington, KY. He began to perform in local bands as a teenager and eventually won a local talent contest. That led to gigs opening for the likes of Patty Loveless, Tracy Byrd, Eddie Rabbitt and John Michael Montgomery, the brother of Gentry’s future longtime bandmate.
Montgomery Gentry earned both Country Music Awards and Academy of Country Music Awards nominations for Vocal Duo of the Year every year from 1999-2011, winning the CMA in 2000. It won the ACM Award for Top New Vocal Duo or Group in 1999 and took home the ACMs’ humanitarian award 10 years later. It scored a 2008 Grammy nomination for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for its hit “Lucky Man.”
The band made an appearance on American Idol in 2011, and its songs have been featured in such films as Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and The Dukes of Hazzard.
Gentry is survived by his wife, Angie McClure; their daughter, Taylor; a daughter, Kaylee, from an earlier marriage.
Williams died today after a short illness. Probably best known for his 1980 smash “I Believe in You,” with its wry lyric that began “I don’t believe in superstars/Organic food and foreign cars,” the Texan singer-songwriter-guitarist amassed 17 No. 1 singles on the Billboard Country Singles chart. After a stint with the Pozo-Seco Singers, he went solo in 1971. Williams announced his retirement in 2006 back was back touring four years later. He hung ’em up for good last year.