Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Coco Montoya at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill

Coco Montoya, born Henry Montoya in Santa Monica, California, began playing drums at age 11 and guitar at age 13. As a young adult, he played drums in local bands until he was recruited into Albert Collins' blues band in the mid-1970s. Over the course of five years, Collins taught Montoya his "icy hot" guitar style, and Montoya gradually began doubling on both drums and guitar. Beginning in the early 1980s, Montoya played guitar in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers for 10 years, then played in the Cate Brothers briefly before going solo in 1993. Montoya's eighth and most current solo album, Hard Truth, was released on March 24, 2017. Presently, Montoya is based in San Fernando Valley, California.

At B.B. King Blues Club & Grill tonight, a left-handed guitarist played a curious left-handed guitar that had a right handed neck, meaning the strings were upside down. Coco Montoya knew where to place his fingers nonetheless as he wailed through lick after lick with seamless ease. He is a child of the 1970s hard-edged blues-rock scene, and so his songs were rife with soulful vocals and smooth melodies that faded into blistering guitar solos that were unmistakably blues-rooted. Backed by a keyboardist, bassist and drummer, Montoya steered clear of feedback and fuzz to bring out the sweet notes that a simple electric guitar can produce, then twisted, squeezed and vibrated the notes for added passion and grace. While the overall style sounded like a blues of yesteryear, Montoya's powerhouse guitar work would be smoking in any era.

Visit Coco Montoya at www.cocomontoyaband.com.