Tim Montana Is Showing Off His "Savage" American Roots

Tim Montana is showing off his "savage" American roots with his new album "Savage" which drops July 12th, 2024.

Tim Montana is showing off his "savage" American roots with his new album "Savage" which drops July 12th, 2024. This album is the most homegrown, all-American collection of songs, a belated archetype of everything rock music stands for in the USA. He has a southern country twang in his vocals, modern rock melodies, and classic rock and metal guitar tones and riffs. He included elements of the blues that built rock music. These songs trace rock 'n roll's lineage back to the very start as they coalesce into everything Americans love about rock music.

But the earth is pushed back to display true roots through Native American-influenced rhythms and chanting in the track Right Again. This is largely due to the place he calls his hometown. Depending on what census you check, 44 residents call Wise River, Montana home. The town (if you could call it that with a straight face) shares its name with the Wise River. The latter connects to the Big Hole River, which once doubled as a boundary between various Native American tribes such as the Nez Percé, Shoshone, Coast Salish, and Black Feet. “The Battle of Big Hole” went down on this land in 1877 between the Nez Percé and the U.S. Army. Even with a “gnarly history, a certain calm pervades the region these days. Nestled under watch of mountains and sustained by the river, you could settle down here and be at peace.

The singer, guitarist, and entrepreneur grew up just 52 miles north and fell in love with Wise River as a kid, but he officially settled there in 2023 after a long stint in Nashville (and even a spell in Los Angeles prior). Coming back home inspired him to go even wilder on his 2024 full-length album, Savage. The hooks hit harder, the distortion was cranked up louder, and the spirit became freer. Ultimately, he alchemizes the energy around him in the form of eleven uncompromising and undeniable anthems, forging a new frontier for hard rock in the process.

Settled in Big Sky Country, he shocked Savage to life during sessions in an “1800s log cabin” on the Big Hole River and at Wise River Club with producer Micah Wilshire.

What is more, the subjects he talks about are classic American tropes that most if not every American can connect to. Tough and toxic relationships, fighting the devils inside, alcoholism, a troubled childhood with a negligent stepparent, being a lost kid in a lost town, and feeling indestructible. He even tips a hat to military service people, specifically special operators.

The album fades in with a single acoustic guitar strumming cowboy chords quickly accompanied by an ambient slide guitar in the song "Devil You Know". If you didn't know any better, you'd think you just hit play on a country artist. At 46 seconds in, the illusion is over and the album's true colors show. A twangy, clean vocal is replaced by a gravelly voice that would make Nickelback and Chris Daughtry proud. The rest of the song is an edgy earworm that emboldens the few adventurous who live life on the edge.

Tim heralds the album with the title track "Savage". An ominous guitar melody glows like embers of a Marlboro Red, and a tribal-style beat kicks in. Distortion ramps up on the chorus as Tim screams, “Everything can go to hell. We can keep it for ourselves. Feeding the habit, watching the madness, everything is SAVAGE!” On the bridge, strings dissolve into acoustic guitar, giving way to one last catharsis. “Maybe I moved to Montana, because I think shit’s getting crazy in the rest of the world and I wanted a fighting chance,” he laughs. “It’s not a political song though, but I’m looking at the world from a 30,000 foot view and telling a story of mankind’s greed, money, power, and wars. Overall, this expression is a pretty savage version of me.”

On "Ashes", the guitar wails, a groove twists and turns, and Tim assures, “Yeah, you’re my end of days.This classic, sexy hard rock song, is complete with guitar solos and innuendos. In Tim's words, “I’m using these adjectives to describe a hot woman,” he grins. “The world’s ending, but you’ve got this chick. If there aren’t some strippers dancing to Ashes, I’m going to be highly disappointed.”

He enlisted none other than Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett to lay down a wah-drenched lead on “Die Today.” Tipping a hat to the “special operator community,” the chorus cuts deep, “Shadows can fill my empty grave, ‘cause I forgot to die today.“It’s my favorite story,” he notes. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of special operators through the charity space. The song is about the dudes who run into gunfire and lay down their lives for strangers. I equate it to my version of Alice In Chains’ ‘Rooster’, so I told Chris to approach the solo like ‘Jerry Cantrell in 1992’. He killed it!”

"Shut Me Out" is one of the most heartfelt and wrenching tracks in the album. It projects one of Tim’s poignant and powerful choruses at full blast. He clenches back tears as he sings, “Push me, pull me, use me, tear me down. It’s a little bit complicated out here alone sedated.“It’s about my childhood and not being wanted by the stepdad I had,” he sighs. His blending of melody and vocal passiveness vs. aggression help accentuate exactly what he is hoping for you to feel. He brings you into his world where he was caught between helplessness and frustration, and he openly and effectively invites the listener into his world.

Clean guitar twists through a heart-thumping beat on "Right Again". It builds towards a relatable and chantable chorus, “Say you’re right again, no one ever wins. He adds, “We wrote about this rough relationship, and I hinted at some sobriety stuff in there.As one of the easier-going tracks on the album, it offers a fresh reprieve in the exact middle, a well-deserved and perfectly placed intermission.

On "Get You Some", he flaunts his braggadocios side over a stomping riff. Dedicated to “every lost kid in every lost town,” he grins, “From a loser to a winner with my crooked middle finger now I’m four kids deep buying five-star dinners.“My wife laughed and said, ‘Motherfucker, you don’t even buy me five-star dinners!’,” he laughs. “It’s about starting at rock bottom and climbing your way up.”

"Lovely" starts up with a stompy, rhythmic intro that is reminiscent of the beloved metal from the 1980's-2000's. Airy electronics dissolve into snaps and a skyscraping refrain, “Lovely, ain’t that lovely, topped off with a loose guitar lead for good measure. He continues, “’Ain’t that lovely’ is a funny saying if shit goes south. I wanted to capture the smartass guy I am with a little Nirvana-style guitar and lyrics about a nasty relationship.”

"Death Row" starts up in a way somewhat reminiscent of "La Grange" by ZZ Top, but with a little extra grit and grunge. Lit up by a fiery distorted boogie, it dissects “a toxic and nasty relationship.” "Loving you is like time on death row." Even the guitar solo sounds like something Billy Gibbons might have written, which would make sense given his history of collaborating with the legendary Texan band.

"Ain’t Comin’ Down" draws everyone into the embrace of Tim’s home state as he paints a vivid picture of a cohort of local characters on “Just another Saturday DOWN IN Wise River.“Every name-drop is a local,” he affirms. “It was written about my first month back in Montana. They’re the sweetest people, but they’re a little crazy.”

Savage concludes with “Day By Day.” Once again, Tim shoots straight as he surveys his life, “I could be the one I never had or wind up dead like my old man.” Alternating between strings and cataclysmic fuzz,it explodes in one final burst of heavy emotion before subsiding on a clean outro. “I wanted to tell this story,” he says. “Losing my dad to alcoholism was a big blow to me. I was almost going down the same road, and I wanted to capture that. Some days, you wake up and it’s beautiful. Other days, you’re struggling. It’s brutally honest, and it was a good way to end the record. Musically, it’s sweet, then crazy and violent, and finally beautiful.”

Ultimately, Tim is telling a story that will resonate far beyond his home state.

“I feel like I’ve lived three lives in my 39 years,” he leaves off. “I’m still a wild man and a workaholic. I’m going to keep telling my story. This is the most honest version of myself I’ve found, and I’m so glad rock ‘n’ roll embraced me. The chains are off, and I can sing about what I want to. Everything is savage.” – Rick Florino, March 2024