REVIEWS

Coco Montoya - Songs From the Road

Originally a drummer - Montoya was picked up by Albert Collins who'd seen and heard him play in a bar in Culver City, California in 1972 and needed a drummer to tour with his band. After a while Montoya began doubling on guitar and credits Collins with teaching him how to play the guitar in hotel rooms between shows. In the 80's John Mayall saw Montoya playing guitar, and recruited him for a new version of the Bluesbreakers. After ten years of touring the world with the Bluesbreakers - Collins inspired him to go out on his own. The 2014 album "Songs From the Road" features Coco Montoya on vocals and guitar, with Brant Leeper vocals and keyboards and Rena Beavers on vocals & drums, and as a double CD featuring originals and covers is a perfect introduction to Montoya's blues and blue-eyed soul. Recorded live over a couple of evenings at The Triple Door - Montoya's repertoire ranges from stanrad 12- bar to ballads and more. The performances gell really nicely, the musicians are clearly listening to each other intently check out the guitar break in the middle of "The One Who Really Loves You" as the band drops to a whisper before bringing the song up again - a staple practice of touring blues bands but expertly delivered here. "Don't Go Making Plans" was co-written by Montoya with Little Feat's Paul Barrere, and Roger Cole and lends a New Orleans flavor to the set, while tunes like "I Got a Mind to Travel" harken back to the dotted groove of any great Freddie King tune.

Montaya plays left-handed but plays a left handed guitar with a right handed neck with the strings upside down similar to Otish Rush. And he typically plays a Fender Stratocaster. Montoya tours almost constantly see www.cocomontoyaband - definitely go hear him play - but if you can't - pick up a copy of this album!

— R. Briganza

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