Come showtime, Montgomery Gentry claims no "fans."
"We don't call nobody fans. We call them friends," said Eddie Montgomery, half the vocal duo completed by rhythm guitarist and singer Troy Gentry.
Together, they headline A Day in the Country, Augusta's longest-running outdoor musical festival. A Day in the Country returns for its 26th year this Sunday, with five acts featured at the Augusta Riverfront Marina.
Justin Moore, Corey Smith, Jamie Buckley and Georgia's own Rachel Farley will perform. The concert benefits the Augusta Sertoma Club, a local service organization, and other charities.
Fans are welcome to bring chairs and blankets to sit along the banks of the Savannah River, and the concert goes on rain or shine.
That's just how it should be, Montgomery said.
"We're committed to a party," he said with a laugh in a telephone interview from his tour bus. "When we hit the stage, anything can happen. It's music that's in your face; songs for the working-class people."
Montgomery Gentry releases a new single in June. And after signing a record deal last month, they expect a new CD out in the fall. It'll be their sixth studio album since the duo debuted in 1999.
"We just love working. We love doing what we do," Montgomery said. "When we're not on the road, we're in the studio."
Montgomery and Gentry, both "proud Kentucky natives," played together in a band years before becoming Montgomery Gentry. A year after joining forces and signing to Columbia Records, they were named the Country Music Association's duo of the year. That same year, 2000, they won the American Music Award for favorite new artist.
Montgomery Gentry went on to produce more than 20 chart singles and were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2009.
The past decade has been full of ups and downs, Montgomery said, but the music has kept them going.
"We're all about living life, letting it happen," he said. "We've been very blessed by all our friends and the man upstairs," said Montgomery, who in November, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. A few weeks later, he announced that his wife filed for divorce.
"Life is very short," he said. "You've got to live every second of it. It can be over in a second."
Montgomery has since had surgery and says he is "100 percent cancer-free."
"Life is very good. It's all good," Montgomery said. "There ain't nothing music can't heal."