After a year of high tension thanks to the twin plagues of politics and the pandemic, BoomerCafé is doing its part to tone things down, which is why, in addition to fresh stories, we’re running some of our “best of” pieces from the past, stories to remind you that yes, Virginia, there was some tranquility before the tension.
We love this idea: a Grammy Award-winning songwriter is producing new music that sounds like what we used to — and still do — love! He is Monty Powell, who began his career with a jingle for an Allstate Insurance commercial but eventually worked in the big-time world of country music. Now, having moved his home from Nashville, Tennessee to Huntsville, Utah, Monty tells BoomerCafé about his quest to transform the industry by targeting the boomer generation.
I was three-years-old when the Beatles took the stage on that historic night of February 9th, 1964. I was ten in 1971 when the Allman Brothers made their unforgettable live recordings at Fillmore East. In 1977, my wife and collaborator Anna Wilson was five when Rumours and Hotel California came out. I am now 55-years-old, and Anna and I have just started a new rock band, Troubadour 77.
Our vision is to create new music reminiscent of the classic singer-songwriter and California Country artists that so many of us have on our playlists: Jackson Browne, The Eagles, James Taylor, and Fleetwood Mac to name a few. I have spent my whole adult life in the music business as a songwriter and producer, writing chart-topping songs for artists like Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum and others. But after years of facilitating other artists’ visions, I decided it was time to come out from behind the glass, time to play my guitar and sing the type of music that Anna and I (and our contemporaries) love.
But it’s not so easy to find. I don’t like hip-hop, and teen pop is useless to me. I remember the feeling the first time I heard “Stairway to Heaven” and “The Pretender” and know that if someone would make some new music that embodies those sensibilities, the sense of discovery and passion can be reignited in a generation that has been musically marginalized for too long.
“Open Home,” a music video from Troubadour 77.
The music business is and has always been focused almost exclusively on young people. It is an irony impossible to miss. If you start early, you can stay in the spotlight as long as you want to. Look at Mick Jagger and Sir Paul, still rocking. This formula, that has now been around for generations, has left baby boomers these choices: either get down with our kids’ and grandkids’ music, or wear ourselves out listening to “Free Bird” for the thousandth time.
So, I asked, “Why can’t there be new songs and new music for us? Recordings that sound familiar, lyrics that you not only can understand, but speak to where we are at in life and not just to kids?” So, we started a rock band.
It’s not a hobby or a weekend warrior cover band. It’s an attempt to change the culture and conversation about who gets to have a seat at the table in this art form. Actors, directors, novelists, painters, and all other sorts of artisans are not saddled by the myopic worship of youth the way music is. There has been an unspoken rule, with few exceptions, that you can’t enter the conversation from the second half of your life.
I want to prove it wrong.
Changing long-standing norms is always an uphill battle, but I feel that our boomer generation is tired of only refilling the cup with nostalgia. We are ready to embrace music made specifically for us again.
Troubadour 77’s four-song “The Progressive Album EP” will be released April 7th. Following that, an additional song per month will be released leading up to the full album release on December 1st. Their recordings are available at iTunes, Amazon Music and Spotify.