Kristian Montgomery and The Winterkill band released their sophomore album “Prince of Poverty” on March 5. The album explores small town, working class life. Sonically it draws on country, rock and blues as a backdrop for stories of love, hardship, addiction and simple pleasures like hunting, fishing and “just driving around.”
“I used to sit next to my grandmother in church and she was a terrible singer, so I had to sing really loud to cover up for her,” Kristian explained with a laugh, recalling his earliest memories of singing.
The church’s minister, who had worked with the Boston Pops in the past, took notice of Kristian’s natural singing ability and helped nurture it. “We were really poor,” Kristian said, “so early on I didn’t have any instruments or anything but he taught me a lot about music and got me into stuff like the Beatles and Led Zeppelin.”
Kristian moved around a lot growing up but spent some formative years in Hanover, Marshfield and Boston. He’s traveled the world from Nicaragua to Denmark playing music. After what he described as a “pretty nasty divorce” and stint in prison he was ready to get out of the music business. “The woman I’m married to now basically told me, ‘You need to be playing music. We need to get you back in the studio. It’s what you do.’” He said beyond moral support, his wife, April, also handles all his photography.
He counts artists like Peter Gabriel and Tom Petty as inspiration: “With Petty it wasn’t exactly country and you never knew quite what you were gonna get but it was always that Americana feel. I played in punk bands in my teens and 20s but like a lot of songwriters I got less angry over the years and it changed my style a little.” His defiant spirit still shines through on songs like “American Fire,” a scathing take on political leaders.
The album, which is beautifully arranged and produced, was recorded at Ultrasound Productions in Hanover with Joe Clapp at the helm producing and playing guitar.
“I remember playing my last gig at the Lost Dog in Dennisport and then all of a sudden live music was over,” Kristian said. He finished his album, “Gravel Church,” and was planning on touring to support it. “At that point we said ‘we can’t tour but we know we can keep recording,’ so I just went to work on another album. I’m actually working on a third one right now.”
The recording process was a little different with COVID precautions in place. Kristian would record his guitar and vocal parts, then a drummer would come and play in an isolated room. The bass player recorded his parts remotely and sent them in. Finally, Kristian and Joe laid down final guitars and post production. Listening to the record, it sounds very much like a live band playing in a room. This is a testament to the musicians involved.
“I know there is a lot of attention paid to singles right now,” Kristian said,” but as songwriters I think we are supposed to put out records. It’s been such a great release. Not being able to tour and play live is pretty tough. I’ve done some livestreaming but I just hate staring into a phone and trying to connect with an audience that way. It’s no substitute.”
Until Kristian is back on stage, music fans have his new album, “Prince of Poverty,” to enjoy on all major streaming platforms. For more info go to https://kmwkb.com.