Whether he’s performing onstage with ZZ Top in front of a crowd of thousands, kicking it with his friend Dave Grohl at a Foo Fighters gig or racing ATVs with extreme-sports star Travis Pastrana, Tim Montana has a knack for always being in the right place at the right time. But don’t chalk it up to luck. Rather, it’s Montana’s innate talent, unrelenting hustle and magnetic charisma that have made the country-rock singer-songwriter a dude that everyone — from the famous to the blue-collar — wants to be around.
Raised in the wilds near Butte, Montana, Tim Montana (yes, it’s his real name), entered the world as an off-the-grid thrill-seeker. He and his buddies would take to the nearby mountains to fish, hunt and raise hell as an escape from their rustic home lives — Montana grew up without electricity. Soon, however, he sought out a different high: the kind that only comes from performing live music. Eager to perfect the guitar playing he began when he was just six years old, he moved to Los Angeles to put his time in studying his craft—now signed to Music Knox Records/BBR Music Group and having just made his label album debut with Long Shots, his hard work has paid off.
“Music was an escape from being secluded in the woods. When I played guitar and closed my eyes I was leaving Butte and seeing the world,” Montana says. “When I moved to L.A., I went from having no electricity to living on Hollywood Boulevard. It was quite the culture shock.”
In a uniquely Tim Montana way, he somehow found himself in the company of David Letterman during a trip back home to Montana, and the talk-show host personally invited him to perform on his show. In 2008, Montana sang his song “Butte, America” for a national audience on the Late Show.
Eventually, he ended up in Nashville, where he formed his band the Shrednecks and established himself as a thrilling live performer. He’s a gregarious personality and struck up friendships with such diverse figures as Kid Rock and the Navy SEAL who led the raid to take down Osama bin Laden, Rob O’Neill. During the pandemic, Montana tapped a smattering of his notable circle of friends (Charlie Sheen, Lee Brice, Chris Kirkpatrick, Michael Ray, Chase Rice, Travis Pastrana, to name a few) for the video for his and Mat Best’s song “Quarantine”. He also enlisted Sheen to direct his video for “Mostly Stoned,” off his album, American Thread.
In Kid Rock, Montana found a kindred rebel spirit and began one of his most prolific creative periods, opening for the rap-rock icon and co-writing two charting singles for Rock’s Sweet Southern Sugar album: the Top 10 country hit “Tennessee Mountain Top” and the Number 16 rock anthem “Greatest Show on Earth.”
“We have a lot in common,” he says of his relationship with Rock. “The way we write songs is very similar, our performance style is full-throttle and we instantly hit it off.”
But it’s ZZ Top’s legendary Billy F. Gibbons with whom Montana has formed his longest and most prosperous relationship. Natural collaborators, the pair has written, recorded and performed together countless times, co-writing songs like “Weed and Whiskey,” “Rust and Red” and “This Beard Came Here to Party.”
“Billy and I bonded over beards, and now he is part of the family,” Montana says.
Now, as the Whisker Brothers, Montana and Gibbons have launched their own food company, selling Whisker Bomb Pepper Sauce, with the backyard anthem “Good Ol’ BBQ.” Their sauces are now available online and in HEB stores. Barbecue is a cornerstone of Montana’s life, and he regularly gives followers the meat sweats with epic grill photos posted to his Instagram. A brand ambassador for Traeger Grills, Montana has performed with Dave Grohl at the company’s all-star weekend and taught a how-to-barbecue class to music-industry executives. In addition to Traeger, Montana is a spokesperson and influencer for Ravin, CenterPoint, Crosman, Benjamin, Black Rifle Coffee, Snap-On Tools, Polaris, Fender, Gerber, Indian Motorcycles, Kicker Performance Audio, Orange Amplifiers, Weather Guard and more—and stars in his own show, “Tim Montana’s Wild Side” on Velocity Outdoor Channel. He also has his own companies: Whisker Bomb Original Foods (with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons), Tim Montana’s Vigilante Cigars (with Big Sky Cigars) and Ol’ Boy Apparel. He is also a passionate advocate for the U.S. military, helping tell the stories of patriots like Rob O’Neill and the late “American Sniper” Chris Kyle.
“Working with brands is something I never set out to do, but it happened because I genuinely love products that fit my outdoor lifestyle. I couldn’t sell teeth-whitening stuff, but I can sell a grill,” he quips. “And my heroes have always been soldiers. I love getting to help those guys and acknowledge their sacrifice. I’ll always support the military.”
While Tim is a true renaissance man who moonlights as a foodie, marksman, adrenaline junkie, father, husband, businessman and TV personality, it’s music that remains at the core of the man. The Country rocker whose sound is befitting of the hell-raising outdoorsman, has been used by Professional Bull Riding, Fox Sports for its NASCAR telecasts, appeared in the Action Figures 2 film as well as the Tom Berenger film, American Dresser and was selected as the theme song of the Boston Red Sox as they fought to a World Series championship, and later Music City’s NHL franchise the Nashville Predators.
Now signed with Music Knox Records/BBR Music Group, Tim recently released his new project (produced by the award-winning Michael Knox), Long Shots. The project is a collection of 12 songs that embraces hard living, the American experience and the blue-collar way. The album title is a nod to the hard road Montana had to take to arrive at this moment and how as improbable as his ambitions may have seemed, he overcame his struggles and all of the odds—and he did it his own way. As a whole, this album is an ode to the underdogs and screams “hard work pays off.”
“It wasn’t easy for me on Music Row, but all my life I’ve never let outside factors stand in the way of my aspirations—instead the rejection fueled me to dig my heels in more, get a little scrappier and work even harder,” he says. “Now we’re doing things in Nashville in a way that hasn’t been done before—it’s been a blast and makes those days shoveling shit worth it.”
Unapologetic, relatable and raw, the music was inspired by stories from Tim’s days growing up in a single-wide, grinding it out by taking odd jobs just to pay the bills (like cleaning kennels, operating a carousel, being a ranch hand) and weekend warring. Ranging from high octane to nostalgic and sweet, each song speaks to life as a wage-earning everyday man delivered convincingly from the well-seasoned hustler whose gritty vocals add an additional layer of authenticity.
Across the album Montana embraces the rough-and-tumble and folks who aren’t afraid to do the dirty work. “Get Em Up,” is an anthem for the blue collar that endorses the camaraderie amongst their fellowmen. “Do It Fast,” inspired by American daredevil Evel Knievel and “Be a Cowboy” celebrates the fearless and fast-living.“Cars on Blocks” (inspired by his childhood home, which still has the wheels on it) and “River Kids” are both reminiscent tracks that paint a clear picture of working-class Butte life, with “Stronger Than You,” and its apocalyptic melody, displaying the grit acquired from that existence.
“I wanted to make sure people know that it’s a celebration of that low class, ‘if you’re not dirty, nobody trusts you’ mountain life. I am Butte American and damn proud of it.”
The music, befitting of its lyrical themes, is Country rock—but don’t mistake it for southern. With geography impacting Tim’s musical influences, he’s located somewhere between Seattle and its grunge, Texas’ roadhouse, Nashville’s Country, Wyoming’s Chris LeDoux, and the Heartland’s rock.
With a fourth baby just added to his family, continued songwriting and businesses to keep growing, Montana has recently been tapped to add acting to his growing resume—Montana is set to make his feature film debut in The Last Son alongside Machine Gun Kelly, Sam Worthington, Thomas Jane and Heather Graham.
All of this builds on what Montana has already accomplished since breaking out of Butte all those years ago.
But he’s nowhere near finished.
For Montana, the Big Sky is the limit.