In a new interview with People, country singer Eddie Montgomery opens up about losing his close friend and longtime bandmate, Troy Gentry.
Montgomery says he will always remember Sept. 8 — when Gentry died in a horrific helicopter crash at a venue where they were scheduled to perform that evening — as “a horrific day.”
He tells the magazine that they were both invited to take helicopter rides before the show.
“They texted us about a week before saying, ‘We have helicopter rides!'” Montgomery said. “We wanted to do it.” He later chose not to go.
The helicopter that Gentry was on suffered an engine malfunction, causing it to crash. While the pilot died on impact, Gentry survived long enough to be transported to a nearby hospital where he passed away.
“It’s something that you never get over,” said Montgomery. “It’s going to be in my mind and my soul for the rest of my life. A little piece of my soul got lost there.”
Montgomery said he and Gentry were close friends offstage and spent a lot of time together.
“Me and T, we’ve known each other longer than we’ve known our wives. Nashville didn’t put this duo together, we did. We were friends before we were ever in the music business.”
“We were outdoors guys. We’d hunt and fish. Mostly we’d go around and listen to a lot of bands and think how we could make ourselves better.”
He described Troy as having a great sense of humor and would make band members bust out laughing in the middle of performances.
Montgomery also said that Gentry would have wanted the band to carry on. Their new album Here’s to You drops on Feb. 2, and will include their recently released song “Better Me.”
In the days after his death, “Better Me” became the theme song of Gentry’s life. Family and friends told of how Gentry strived to improve himself in all aspects of his life, faith, and family.