Earl "Peanutt" Montgomery, a frequent collaborator of the late George Jones, is suing the country icon's widow Nancy, the Concord Music Group record company and Cracker Barrel for releasing music without his permission. The suit, filed in a Nashville federal court, stems from the release of George Jones & the Smoky Mountain Boys in February of 2017.

The Tennessean reports that Montgomery claims he is the rightful owner of the recordings that make up George Jones & the Smoky Mountain Boys. In the late 1970s, Montgomery's lawsuit states, Jones told Montgomery he wanted to collaborate with the Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys, and that he wanted Montgomery "to produce and own [the album] as his retirement package for all his years of service and friendship to Mr. Jones" (Montgomery played in Jones' band, produced for Jones and co-wrote 73 songs for him).

The tracks that make up George Jones & the Smoky Mountain Boys were recorded at Doc's Place Recording Studio, then shelved. Montgomery's lawsuit reports that although the session's master tapes remained in Doc's Place's vault, he had possession of the original mixed album. Montgomery was not paid for his production work on the record, nor listed in the album's liner notes; rather, two executives who added new elements to the released versions of the recordings are listed as executive producer and project supervisor.

"The release further misrepresents the album as lost recordings which were discovered," the lawsuit explains, "when in fact recordings were converted by defendant Nancy Jones and ultimately the Concord defendants with full knowledge of [Montgomery's] ownership."

After Jones died in April of 2013, Nancy Jones agreed to sell his intellectual property and other assets to Concord Music Group. Concord then agreed to release George Jones & the Smoky Mountain Boys through Cracker Barrel.

According to the Tennessean, Montgomery is seeking $5 million.

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