Four years apart has not loosened the bond between Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry. Gentry died in a Sept. 2017 helicopter crash, but Montgomery says he still feels him in his heart and soul.

That manifested on Ain't No Closing Me Down, the singer's first solo album. Montgomery had previously been hesitant to open his heart as a songwriter, but several songs from this project show a more vulnerable man's perspective.

"As I was writing the songs, I think he was helping me," the 58-year-old says. "I think he's always helping me."

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"Help" takes on many forms, however. "When we're on the shows, I mean I've had stuff happen man, I'm going, 'OK, that's T-Roy pulling a prank,'" Montgomery admits. "Like going out and the PA just shuts off. I'm going, 'What? Ah, that's T-Roy man, letting us know.'"

The new album (available at Walmart) features a Tanya Tucker collaboration and a song he wrote for a film called Old Henry. In the above interview, Montgomery talks about that song and how the other great tragedies in his life shaped it. In 2015, his 19-year-old son Hunter died. Many years earlier — before he was famous — a 3-year-old son was killed in a car accident.

Toward the end of this interview, Taste of Country Nights host Evan Paul checks in on Gentry's family, asking Montgomery how they're doing years later. The country star revealed to ToC that he's not only kept his word to Gentry that he'd keep the band rolling, he accomplished something the two men always wanted to do on a record: The road band plays most parts on Ain't No Closing Me Down.

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