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Fresh Out Of Rehab, Montgomery's Ready For The Future

Of the Oakland Press

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On Saturday (June 14), country singer John Michael Montgomery returns to the stage for the first time after a 28-day stay in rehab. And he says he can’t think of a better place to do it.

“We’re looking forward to getting up to DTE,” says Montgomery, 43, whose six No. 1 country hits include 1994’s “I Swear.” “We always have a good crowd there. It seems to be a real stimulation for me. Every year it seems like we kinda kick off a (summer) with going up there, so it’s great.”

Montgomery surprised fans when he checked into the Cumberland Heights center in Nashville, citing sleep disorder and severe anxiety attacks. He says it was the result of 25 years of “roadin’ and drinkin’,” as well as the cumulative effect of surgeries on his legs and hips that led to some painkiller addictions.

“Just life in general started catching up with me,” Montgomery says. “I just needed to take a break from it all, kind of just get away from the world for a little while and figure out where I’m at physically, mentally, emotionally — all that kind of stuff.

“I definitely feel like I’ve done that. I feel great. Now it’s just taking one step at a time, moving forward.”

That includes making new music, too. Montgomery has released a pair of singles this year, “Mad Cowboy Disease” and “If You Ever Went Away.” “Time Flies,” his first new album in five years and his first for his own label, Stringtown Records, is due out in September.

“I’ve kept (touring), but I’ve been gone awhile when it comes to records,” Montgomery notes. “Every year that goes by there’s a new person that comes along and eats away at your spot you had there with fans, radio, any of that. So I’m going to have to rebuild, take this album and get it out there.

“I’m fortunate in that I get to knock on the door again and people know who I am. Radio still plays a lot of my older stuff, and they’re playing (‘If You Ever Went Away’). But they don’t just kick people off ’cause John Michael Montgomery has a new record out, so I have to knock on people’s doors and let ’em know I’m back and ask ’em to give me a chance here.”

John Michael Montgomery and Billy Craig perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (June 14) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $37.50 pavilion, $10 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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