Country music's a family affair for Walker Montgomery. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter's kinfolks from Kentucky include famous father John Michael Montgomery, Uncle Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry fame and an equally talented cousin in honky-tonk and Southern rock act Dillon Carmichael.
Like Carmichael, whom Walker describes as having a "damn good voice," the latest Montgomery to chase that neon rainbow brings his own style to the table. While his dad balances tender ballads and party songs better than anyone not named Garth Brooks, his uncle ups mainstream country's rock showmanship and his cousin follows in Travis Tritt's bootsteps, Walker strikes the ideal balance between '90s classics, modern sounds and less obvious influences.
"I love listening to Luke Bryan," he says. "I think my vocal movements I learned to do from listening to Luke Bryan. Of course, I love Randy Travis and obviously Daddy, but I'm not just influenced by country music. Not a lot of people know it, but I love 1930's swing music: Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Glen Miller Band. I just love music, man. I don't want to sound all kumbaya, but I think music is the one language we can all speak. Thanks to my high school choir teacher: He said that."
Walker's jazz and big band influences should come as no surprise to anyone well-versed in the music of Bob Wills, Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson. However, forthcoming music from Walker's publishing deal with Play It Again will remind listeners of his famous dad, not Lukas and Micah's father.
"Once you hear it, you'll definitely hear the straight out of 1994 kind of vibe," he adds.
Walker doesn't shy away from comparisons to or conversations about his country star kinfolks, even if he's always viewed the singer of "The Little Girl" as an everyday father figure.
"I'm proud to talk about my dad," he says. "That's why I released a song called 'Like My Daddy Done It.' I'm proud of what he's done, and he's had some great songs. I've got to differentiate myself, but I'm proud of him."
Wide Open Country premiered "Like My Daddy Done It," a Dallas Davidson, Chase McGill and Ben Hayslip co-write that's liable to connect with those of us without Walker's family tradition.
"It's relatable to everybody because everyone growing up, there's one person. Especially these good ole country boys, they want to be like their daddy," Walker says.
For tour dates, music videos and copies of his debut EP Simple Town, check out Walker's website.