Kristian Montgomery is a regular guy. Except, the more you fill in the details of his life what should be ordinary starts to become extraordinary. Like a cubist painting, that starts to look less recognizable the more you identify the individual pieces in it, Kristian’s life is at once familiar and wholly his own.
His career has ups and downs, he goes on trips with his friends. All relatable experiences unless you’re Kristian Montgomery. His job isn’t a boring, nine-to-five. He’s a former metal vocalist turned country singer; whose career highs included being nominated for a Boston Music Award for Country Artist of the Year in 2021. But who’s lows included having to write an album in jail after contacting the judge in his child support case outside of court. And that trip he took with a friend? It was with his bassist and “blood brother,” Roberto Talleria, to his homeland of Managua, Nicaragua to perform on the local version of MTV.
Montgomery’s own origins have taken him beyond the Boston music scene he came up in. His father is from Denmark which he now considers “home.” His time in Boston was tumultuous, if successful. It was a milieu in which he often felt, if not, overtly excluded, at least, like an odd man out in what he considered “a very upper-class music scene.” Even though he received critical success, in the form of his Boston Music Award nomination, he felt his peers never reciprocated. Which while not the raison d’etre for his art; stung, nonetheless.
The unique word choice he regularly employs hints at a sensitive person with an affinity for dramatic, verbal pictures. He uses turns of phrase that only an artistic spirit would consider. His relatives from Denmark are “across the sea.” When detailing the emotions of a song dedicated to his wife, he explains that he “throws his love at her.” He finds everyday experiences inspiring and “has made a living painting those stories into his songs.”
Ordinarily, such ornamental language, if used in casual conversation, would seem overwrought were it not for the fact that Montgomery is such a poised and deep thinker about art and, specifically, his art. He seems to be constantly reflecting on who his music represents. About the people it will connect with. It is music that is, as he says, “made for people on the Periphery.”
Now that he’s released a new album, he can say he did just that. Montgomery’s unpretentious, new album, “Heaven for Heretics”, released under the moniker Kristian Montgomery and the Winterkill Band, is a vintage singer-songwriter effort. It’s apparent the music comes from a single creative source, giving the album an unmistakable cohesion. Of course, as with all singer-songwriters if the message doesn’t resonate or the music is flat then listening becomes tedious, repetitive. That isn’t the case here. Montgomery is able to stretch himself to the limits of artistic expanse. He’s able to provide enough variety, both sonic and thematic, to keep the album propulsive.
From the contemplatively existentialist “Come Carry Weight with Me” to the bouncy country bop “Peach” Montgomery’s unorthodox, appealing voice and trademark mix of country music clichés mixed with profound turns of phrase, all showcase a musician who, if nothing else, cared about making something personal. And that counts for a lot.