Since first crossing paths in 2013, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Nashville’s Tim Montana have bonded over blues-rock, beards, and barbecue. They combine all three in the new song “Good ‘Ol BBQ,” their first release under the name the Whisker Brothers.
It’s a feel-good tune, tailor-made for the American summer holidays — especially the Fourth of July. In a video for the track, Gibbons and Montana throw a grilling party for a diverse hot-dogging, hot-rod crowd, with Montana (a brand spokesperson for Traeger Grills) singing on-the-nose lines about how “low and slow” barbecue “is tried and true” and imagining “smoke rolling out the stack” while “brisket bark is turning black.”
“The song captures the Americana allure of fellowship and food, which this world could use some more of,” Montana says. “Nothing celebrates the nation’s independence like getting together with friends and family — and it’s what’s coming off the que that keeps everybody smiling.”
“Good ‘Ol BBQ” appears on a new EP by the Whisker Brothers, a loosely food-focused project that also includes the songs “Rockamole” and “That Sauce Is Hot.” The latter is a nod to Gibbons and Montana’s latest venture: their own hot sauce, “Whisker Bomb.” (These guys never met a beard reference they didn’t like.) “All that’s hot is what we got,” says Gibbons, rapping out some tag lines in his Texas drawl.
“Whisker Brothers exploded out of the writer’s room,” he continues. “After writing ‘Good ‘Ol BBQ’ and ‘Rockamole,’ the hot sauce brand just came to the forefront coupled with these songs, so we decided to make it its own thing. It’s one of those unexpectedly delightful departures from our usual.”
There’s nothing usual for Gibbons and, especially, Montana, one of country-rock’s most hard-to-define independent artists. While “Good ‘Ol BBQ” is an easygoing sing-along, his work with his band the Shrednecks leans more toward hard rock. His latest release “American Thread,” which salutes blue-collar working men and women, mixes country lyricism with crunchy guitars and Kid Rock-like vocals.
Right now though, Montana and Gibbons just want to salute their carnivorous ways. (And douse it with their hot sauce.)
But Montana, a native of the state with whom he shares a name, won’t be pinned down when it comes to claiming his favorite style or region of barbecue — since wars have been fought over less.
“I’m a fan of all barbecue,” he says diplomatically. “If it’s low and slow and juicy, it can be Carolina style, Texas, Memphis or even backwoods Montana.”