Holly Montgomery is an Americana artist known for her soulful voice and confessional songwriting. Her lyrics invite the audience into her world and showcase the full spectrum of the human experience. In some songs, she’s playful, witty, or wryly observational. In others, she’s raw and achingly personal, every line as intimate as a stolen kiss.
Each one of Montgomery’s songs tells a universal story and extols the virtues of living an authentic life. This is music for roadhouses and rough-edged dive bars, dreamt into existence by a songwriter who’s always been happy to defy expectations…and break the rules. “I’ve always made music on my own terms,” Montgomery says. “Now that message of unapologetic authenticity has become a core theme of my songwriting. Being yourself can be messy, but it’s also empowering. People connect with that.
Montgomery’s career spans nearly three decades, and in that time she’s wowed audiences as a frontwoman and toured internationally as the bassist for The Mustangs of the West. In the early 2000s, she made the radical choice to leave the industry to pursue another fulfilling path: becoming a mother. She adopted three Kazakhstani teenage orphans after meeting them through Kidsave International, an organization that advocates for older child adoption. Montgomery mines her experience as a mother with “For My Son,” featured on her forthcoming 2022 LP Sorry for Nothing. Now Montgomery is returning to tell her story. Today she’s a staple of the Mid-Atlantic live circuit, booking hundreds of gigs each year. She also continues to write, record, and produce; her upcoming album showcases her signature sound and solidifies her transition from rock to roots.
Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Montgomery can’t remember a time before music was a part of her life. She sang on stage with her mom beginning at age five and studied classical piano and trombone as a child. After becoming inspired by Rush’s Spirit of the Radio she also picked up the bass. At age 14, Montgomery joined her older brother’s band, Dorothy Boy. By that time, her musical palate had been expanded by WLRS rock radio, introducing her to the likes of Led Zeppelin, Queen, Dolly Parton, and John Denver. She remained engaged with music throughout high school and college.
Montgomery relocated to Los Angeles early in her career, soon becoming a favorite at the House of Blues where she played with her band HOLLY. She joined the group Big Planet, which received the “Best Acoustic Band in Los Angeles” award from the National Academy of Songwriters. “During that time I was all hustle. I played with my own band. I played solo gigs. I played in other people’s projects as a sidewoman, toured with Dan Bern, I even played bass on an Ice Cube album.”
In the early nineties, Montgomery joined an all-female cowpunk band called The Mustangs. She played bass alongside vocalist Suzanna Spring and guitarist Sherry Rayn Barnett. Soon the group earned a cult following in LA, thanks to its regular shows at the Palomino Club. After innumerable gigs and three tours in Europe, The Mustangs dissolved as the artists began to pursue independent projects.
In 2017, Montgomery joined Spring and Barnett to reform the group as The Mustangs of the West. In that same year, Holly Montgomery released her seminal fifth album, Leaving Eden. Critics raved; The Huffington Post described it as “an animated lyrical wonder.” Shortly thereafter, the Mustangs of the West released their 2020 LP titled TIME under the Blue Élan Records label. This project also marks the origin of Montgomery’s relationship with Blue Élan founder, Kirk Pasich. In 2021 Pasich signed Montgomery to KZZ Music, a music production company that he co-founded alongside producers Zachary Ross and Zackary Darling.
When she’s not engrossed in artistic pursuits, Montgomery turns her talents to the nonprofit world. She’s written themes for major charity organizations, including S.O.M.E. (So Others May Eat). She’s been joined in these projects by world-class musicians, recording alongside icons like guitarist Randall Hall, of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and drummer Aynsley Dunbar of Journey, Frank Zappa, David Bowie, and Jefferson Starship.
Please help us create lasting legacies by giving a donation.
If you are interested in sponsoring us at a different level.
Receive updates about upcoming events, to volunteer or hear more about our artists.