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Coco Montoya

Though he grew up as a drummer and was raised on rock & roll, Coco Montoya became an outstanding blues guitarist after stints in the bands of Albert Collins and John Mayall. Montoya debuted as a leader in 1995 with the Blind Pig album Gotta Mind to Travel and garnered an award for Best New Blues Artist at the following year's W.C. Handy Awards ceremonies.

Born in Santa Monica, Montoya played drums for a local rock band that toured the region during the mid-'70s, playing in area clubs. Although he had recently been turned on to blues at an Albert King show, he was somewhat unprepared to sit in with another blues legend -- "the Iceman" Albert Collins -- when a bar-owner friend of Montoya invited the bluesman to play at his nightclub. Though his inexperience showed, the young drummer impressed Collins enough to hire him for a Pacific Northwest tour three months later. The tour soon ended, but the pair's affiliation remained for more than five years, while Montoya learned much about the handling of blues guitar from "the Master of the Telecaster."

By the early '80s, Coco Montoya was back in the small-time nightclub business, playing guitar with several regional bands. At one night's show, he realized that John Mayall was in the audience, so he dedicated a cover of "All Your Love" to the British blues maestro. The song prompted Mayall to hire Montoya as lead guitarist for a new version of the Bluesbreakers he had formed. Despite the enormous pressure of filling a spot once held by Eric Clapton and Peter Green, Montoya jumped at the opportunity.

His first album with the Bluesbreakers came in 1985. Mayall had not released an album in five years at that point and the Bluesbreakers had been dead for more than 15, but the live album Behind the Iron Curtain proved Mayall's viability thanks mostly to the fiery work of Montoya. The guitarist appeared on three studio albums with Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, but then struck out on his own by the mid-'90s. Signed to Blind Pig, Montoya released Gotta Mind to Travel in 1995 with help from Mayall and another former Bluesbreaker compatriot, rhythm guitarist Debbie Davies.

After years of toil under Collins and Mayall, Montoya was finally in the spotlight and his award as Best New Blues Artist of 1996 proved quite ironic, given his years of experience. His second album, Ya Think I'd Know Better, was followed by 1997's Just Let Go. At that point, Montoya and Blind Pig parted company and he signed with Alligator Records. Suspicion was released in 2000, followed two years later by Can't Look Back and by Dirty Deal in 2007. All three discs incorporated a definitive soul/R&B approach. I Want It All Back, produced by Keb' Mo' and Jeff Paris, appeared in 2010. ~ John Bush & Al Campbell, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

wow this guy rocks
popieblue
I love his guitar style & sings like a bird. Please come back to Houston Coco its been too long !
rserva
This could almost be a Pablo Cruze tune!!!!
Coco shows up quite often at the Chop Shop in Simi Valley, Ca. He's always been more than friendly and really packs the house. Anytime he's nearby we go see him. His wife was just recently quite ill, and I hope she gets better soon!!!
jackadishian
Coco opened for Charlie Musselwhite @ the Crystal Bay Club North Shore Lake Tahoe Summer 2012-what a great performance. The acoustics were great in the wood ceiling room which held only about 175 people. They were perfection, enjoyed the evening big time!
As a proud owner of a 1956 es125 Gibson an a big fan of coco I was so impressed with his style of playing at the little club cafe 11 here in st.augustine fl. Probably the most fun ever had at a show, and what a nice guy too!HOPE U GET BACK HERE SOON COCO. SAM
kvons1
As good as they get
I 1st saw him at doheny blues festival power rocked the house go see him anytime he's within 100 miles of San diego
Just caught Coco at the Bakersfield Blues Fest...most awesome!
Saw him at the Bisby Blues Festival. Great venue...very small, and outdoors in an old, old baseball park.
like to hear it ok this is butterflylad y signing off for the day but ill be back soon to read your encounters with coco ok ?????
an open invite to go hangout after the show but I opted out unfortunatly due to my being sick and didnt want to be the cause of them having to cancel anything from my getting them sick it was cool untill i moved to florida and a now not my friend person stole the display i had with all the stuff that coco had given me on my b-day suffice it to say the chick got her a** kicked all over daytona beach till she moved away for taking my stuff lol if anyone has a similar encounter story I sure would
i actually got to meet coco at the blues fest in Oklahoma city it just so happened to be my 37 birthday as well and when he found out from my telling one of his body guards it was my b-day he brought me up to the front of the stage and gave me several items one was an invatation to go back to the hotrel room and party with them but I oppted out due to my having the flu and didnt want to get any of them sick but the items I was given were two broken guitarr strings a t-shirt and guitar pics and
always awesome!!!!!
petes429
Was lucky to see him a few times but really liked seeing him and Tommy Castro together on stage separately and together during same show. Pretty cool
14739578
OK I like this guy
cool.raquel
Thanks Coco!
eewhitecotto n
Why doesn't Pandora play Coco's best song, "Good Days, Bad Days"
where will coco be coming to san diego ca
Saw him 3 times in Chicago at Buddy Guy's and once at a festival in northern Indiana...he makes his guitar talk to ya!! Had a chance to talk to him twice, wasn't very personable, but hey, if he took time to talk to everyone, he'd never get a chance to play....
Saw CoCo at Moes Alley four years ago...for someone who knew his music history, I was blasted not only by the show, but also by the "friends" who
joined in during the show.
THANKS
Great Player! Nice voice strong!
i've had the good fortune to see Coco twice....bot h at Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta...a VERY intimiate venue...

this guy is beyond awesome!!!.. . o n e of the best blues players on the planet, a great songwriter, singer and showman....n o t to mention funny as hell...he literally had us in the floor at times...he does this little skit where he makes his guitar "talk"....i can't begin to do it justice..

i also had the pleasure to chat with him for about 10 minutes during their break....he' s humble
Great blues!
Seen Coco several times here in California, and he NEVER fails to deliver! Last time at Coloma Blues Fest he signed my 8 yr old son's guitar and got pictures! Definitely one of the best around!
magruver
wow again Pandora has opened my ears to some awesome Blues ,
Love this Coco I do !!
I'm a fan of fine guitar players. I was in Va. in a fine eating establishmen t and Coco was playing I was immediately blown away, I couldn't believe i hadn't heard Coco b-4 I have since been enlightened.
Coco came off the stage one night at the Zoo Bar, pulled out a chair and played for the lady I was with. An amazing treat.
mcco1101
Love those rockin blues, if you can't get enough Coco, try some Walter Trout.
Wow! Sounds amazing!
vinyltim
A great showman..... C o c o never disappoints at his live shows.

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