The stories that the men of the country music world tell aren't very different from those that the women tell—"they just have a little more crust," Dr. Angelou says. A few of Dr. Angelou's favorite men of country visit with her to talk about their music and their inspirations.
Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry—known to country fans as simply Montgomery Gentry—are Kentucky boys who made it big, but they're small-town at heart, they say. Eddie's Kentucky farm sits on 250 acres, and it's his favorite place to be. "Everyone's my neighbor and my friend; I love it so much," he says. Troy lives closer to the center of the music business, outside of Nashville, and while he's happy to be out on the road playing music, he says he's happier when he gets back. "The burden of work and the pressure just lifts off when you realize you're home," he explains.
One of the reasons Dr. Angelou loves Montgomery Gentry's music is because of the heart she hears in it. Eddie says that's what it's all about for the duo. "My mom and dad played music, and my dad talked about how music could be the cure-all for everything," he says. "Whether you're down, or you're sick, music's always been around to help heal." Their song "Some People Change" has been one of those healing songs for a lot of people, which is what the duo hoped for when they recorded it. "When I heard it, I thought, there are a lot of good people out there who have been able to dig deep inside themselves and pull away from their troubles to become better people," Troy says. "It was a good message for us to tell everybody about."
Another of Dr. Angelou's favorites, Vince Gill, has won 17 Grammy Awards and been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. His most recent album, These Days, is comprised of four CDs and 43 songs, and Vince believes it's a culmination of everything he's learned about music. "I've lived and breathed music for as long as I can remember, and I was the crazy one in the family willing to step out on limb and try to make a living playing music," he says.
Dr. Angelou tells Vince that his song, "Go Rest High on That Mountain," helped her finally grieve for her older brother, who led a troubled life before his early death. Vince explains that he wrote the song about his own brother, who didn't follow an easy path either. A car accident left Vince's brother in a coma for many months and he wasn't expected to survive, but he beat the odds and came back, although not all the way, according to Vince.
"He never really settled down, couldn't hold a job, but I never heard him complain," Vince says. "The gift he never knew he gave me was the gift of character. He was a man who had nothing, and he was man enough not to complain. I see men with everything, and they have no character." Vince wrote the song to celebrate his brother's life and to grieve, and says the number of people who have been touched by his words has humbled him, he says.
Printed from Oprah.com on Monday, December 9, 2013