Label: Alligator Records
Release Date: March 24, 2017
Review Date: March 24, 2017
I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve only recently become aware of blues artist, Coco Montoya, but I can assure you that I ain’t gonna forget him AND (thanks to his new CD, Hard Truth) I’m a new fan for life.
Yeah, he (and it) is that good.
If you’re like me and are among the great unwashed of ignorant, here’s a bit of info Coco:
He was schooled by Albert Collins -the “Master of the Telecaster” - and gained further blues education by sitting at the feet of the great John Mayall, Prior to Hard Truth, Montoya has cut three successful CDs for his label, Alligator Records, between 2000 and 2007. He has a hard-edged sound and style all his own, mixing his forceful, melodic guitar playing and passionate vocals with memorable songs, delivering the blues’ hardest truths.
On Hard Truth, Montoya unleashes one career-topping performance after another, the music immediately ranking among the best he’s ever recorded. Produced by Tony Braunagel (Eric Burdon, Curtis Salgado, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt), the album features eleven songs, each delivering a hard truth of its own. From the radio-friendly, gospel-inspired celebration of love, I Want To Shout About It, to the haunting Devil Don’t Sleep to the icy-hot cover of Albert Collins’ The Moon Is Full, Hard Truth covers substantial emotional ground. Montoya’s unpredictable guitar playing and smoking soul vocals blend effortlessly with a backing band featuring renowned musicians bassist Bob Glaub (Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Jerry Lee Lewis), keyboardist Mike Finnigan (Jimi Hendrix, Etta James, Taj Mahal), guitarists Billy Watts (Eric Burdon) and Johnny Lee Schell (Bonnie Raitt), and Braunagel on drums. Slide guitar master Lee Roy Parnell guests on Lost In The Bottle.
Montoya earned his status as a master guitarist and soul-powered vocalist through years of paying his dues as a sideman with Albert Collins (first as a drummer) and then as a featured guitarist with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, before launching his solo career in 1993. Five years of constant touring with Collins and ten years with Mayall turned him into a monster player and dynamic performer. Montoya has released eight previous solo albums to great critical and popular acclaim, and has played at clubs, concert halls and major festivals all over the world. Guitar Player says Montoya plays “stunning, powerhouse blues with a searing tone, emotional soloing, and energetic, unforced vocals.”
Still an indefatigable road warrior, Montoya continues to pack clubs and theaters around the world, and brings festival audiences to their feet from New York to New Orleans to Chicago to San Francisco. Across the globe, he’s performed in countries including Australia, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, England, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Mexico, Ecuador, Italy, Poland, Russia, Czech Republic and Canada. Vintage Guitar says, “Coco just keeps getting better and better...rockin’ blues with guitar that cuts straight to the heart of the matter. His guitar playing is funky and blistering; it’s perfect. Whatever he plays, he does it with fire and passion rarely seen in this day and age.”
Keep up with Coco and the band at www.cocomontoyaband.com.