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Country acts jam at the Schottenstein Center

“We don’t call anybody fans. We call them friends … and we have the best friends in the world,” Eddie Montgomery yelled to the not-so-crowded Schottenstein Center Friday night.

Montgomery Gentry, who headlined the four-hour long WCOL’s Country Jam 2011, did not let the empty seats steer them away from doing what they love: throwing a party.  

With idols like Willie Nelson and Lynyrd Skynyrd, it was no surprise that the American country music duo took the stage full force with Gentry jamming out on his white acoustic guitar and Montgomery swirling the microphone stand in his red cowboy boots.

“I think we both just love that rush of being on stage,” Montgomery told The Lantern in a previous email.

The duo played, and the crowd sang along to their well-known songs such as “Hell Yeah,” “My Town,” “Gone,” “She Couldn’t Change Me” and “If You Ever Stop Loving Me.”

Montgomery shouted to the crowd, “We have a brand new album coming out, Oct. 18, mark the party date on your calendar.”

“So go out, buy it and I promise you, when you put it in, you’re gonna wanna turn it up, turn it loud and then find a party,” he said.

Montgomery asked the crowd if they could play a few songs off their new album, “Rebels On The Run,” and then joked, saying “good” after the crowd cheered with excitement.

Waving their hands in the air, the crowd seemed to enjoy the new songs.

The entertainment and drinking began two hours earlier with special guests Steve Holy and Sonia Leigh.

Leigh, who sported an “Ohio Rocks” T-shirt, sang about six songs, which included her hit, “My Name is Money.”

Holy rolled through his more favored hits, “Good Morning Beautiful,” “Brand New Girlfriend” and his newest, “Love Don’t Run.”

Montgomery Gentry was not afraid to show their patriotism and brought it up at various times throughout the show.

“I promise you one thing right now, our American heroes … are something to be proud of,” Montgomery said. Then they went on to play their No. 1 hit “Something to Be Proud Of.”

In November 2010, Montgomery was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which was successfully treated a month later.

“I am cancer-free,” Montgomery yelled to the crowd. “I’m definitely living for each and every day. Live as fast as you can, cause you can’t get it back.”

The band went on to play a crowd favorite, “Lucky Man,” after which Montgomery looked up to the ceiling and yelled, “God I want to thank you, I love you God.”

Samantha Sloop, 19, who won an autographed guitar from Montgomery Gentry, attended Country Jam to see Montgomery Gentry and Steve Holy donated a can of chicken noodle soup and was entered into a drawing to win the guitar.

“It feels good to help out,” Sloop said. “I have food at home and other people don’t, so I brought in the can to donate.”

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