Songwriter of the Year 2014 – Bobby Montgomery


by Buck Morgan

John Wayne had it. So did Clint Eastwood. That solid feeling that let’s you know you can count on them.

While Bobby Montgomery, the recently named Dallas Songwriter of the year, may not have Hollywood girth and brawn, he makes up for it in character.

He more than fills the Duke’s boots when you need someone you can count on.

When Bobby found the Dallas Songwriters, he found a home. He knew there was something valuable here, and things of value need to be cared for.

It wasn’t long before Bobby became a caregiver, someone who volunteered to sit at a table at a guitar show or mall or outdoor festival and tell others about an organization and a group of people that meant a lot to him.

Most first heard Bobby’s music at 2nd Tuesday Critiques. I remember a judge smiling and closing his eyes as he listened to Bobby’s first song.

“Oh good, a waltz. I love waltzes,” he said.

People listen to Bobby’s songs that way. We smile. We close our eyes, and we nod toward familiar memories that many of Bobby’s songs conjure, some bittersweet.

At other times, we’re caught off guard by his outrageous humor.

This past year has seen Bobby take top honors in Best of Meeting song critiques with tunes you can dance to as well as with songs that are knee-slappers.

Typical of Bobby’s humor, he finds himself, over the course of a song, in an awkward situation, not completely of his own making. Disregarding listeners’ expectations, the main character swallows societal objections and joins in. A good time is had by all.

And the audience is left howling. Imagine how good it must feel to see people rock and bend over in laughter from the humor in your song.

Bobby has always loved music, and he’s always loved to make people laugh. His father, Johnny Montgomery, was a touring country singer, and his mother, Lillie Montgomery, was a poet and a songwriter.

His parents owned the Alamo Bar in South Dallas, where his dad played on weekends and where, at age 5, Bobby also sang a few songs.

Songwriter of the Year 2014 Bobby MontgomeryAfter his parents split, Bobby started writing songs with his mother. After he got a guitar she warned him to enjoy the instrument but to ‘never join a band,’ and he never did.

It was a hard promise to keep, because his musician friends were getting paying gigs during high school. Even though he may have sat in from time to time, he was able to skirt his promise to Mom by playing under the name “Bobby Dallas.”

“With Mother’s help I started writing songs in my teens,” Bobby said. “Today I have probably written close to 150 songs. Most of them are hardly noteworthy, so many of them found their way into oblivion.

“I don’t throw away such songs any longer. They go into my ‘recycle bin, and I cherry pick bits and pieces for new songs.

“My roots are in Classic Country, Jim Reeves Ray Price, etc. However, I noticed in the 1970s that country music had progressed into contemporary country music, and my 32-bar form–three verses and a chorus–was outdated.”

Bobby didn’t want his music to stay in the early 60s, so he worked with dedication for decades and now feels ready to burst onto the 1970s scene. “I relish the success of slow but steady progress,” he said, suppressing a sly grin.

Bobby’s favorite DSA activity is the 2nd Tuesday Program. Since joining, he’s among the first to arrive and last to leave.

“Our guest speakers have always been insightful. I have made many friendships with songwriters that range from ‘good to gifted,’” he said.

“I have also been fortunate to have found a couple of mentors that have stretched me. My strengths have been in melody lines and lyrics.

“My weakness was structure. I have learned from recommended research, asking questions, and just listening and taking notes.”

The newer tunes that won Bobby DSA Songwriter of the Year 2014 were produced in 2013 at DSA member Joe Milton’s studio.

“One thing I’m sure of is five years ago I could not have dreamed of the doors that would open up to me as a result of joining DSA,” he said. “My advice to songwriters is the next step is joining the DSA.”