Coco Montoya will be performing live in concert on Friday evening, Aug. 15, in Miles City.
The show starts at 8 p.m. in the Range Riders Museum’s Pioneer Memorial Hall with special guest Eli Sanders. Tickets for the concert are available at Main Street Grind, Great Grains, BuyMT. and Confluence.com.
From his early days as a drummer to his current status as one of the top-drawing guitarists and vocalists on the blues-rock scene, Montoya earned his status through years of hard work and constant touring.
Montoya was born in Santa Monica, Calif., and was a drum player for a local rock band that toured the area and played in clubs in the 1970s.
It all started with a chance meeting in the mid-1970s with legendary bluesman Albert Collins, who offered Montoya a gig as his drummer. Collins took an immediate liking to Montoya, became his mentor and taught his new protégé the secrets of Collins’ “icy hot” style of blues guitar.
Five years later, British blues icon John Mayall happened to catch Montoya at a jam session and was blown away. Mayall recruited Montoya as his guitarist in the legendary Bluesbreakers, and Montoya spent the next 10 years touring non-stop, proving himself to be worjd-class guitar master in one of the most renowned blues bands in existence.
Montoya, a self-taught guitar slinger, plays with an emotional intensity few string benders possess. Playing left handed and upside down like Albert King, Montoya learned his guitar techniques from his years with Collings.
“I never had a lesson in my life. I would watch other guitar players to catch what they did. I would wait for that one moment when they would do it, and just stare at them and try and remember where their hand was, where their fingers were.
“People ask, ‘Did you take lessons from Albert?’ It’s more from just hanging out in the hotel rooms. He would grab his guitar and I would pick up one and we’d play. I just learned by listening, all by ear. I just play it the way I hear it. He was always saying, ‘Don’t think about it, just feel it.’ He taught me to tap into an inner strength.”
In 2000, Montoya signed with Aligator Records, the country’s top blues label. In his seven years with Alligator, he released three more outstanding records, “Suspicion,” “Can’t Look Back” and 2007’s “Dirty Deal.” In 2009, Montoya found a new home in the old world. Germany’s premier blues label, Ruf Records, signed the guitar giant and is poised to bring Montoya’s heart to a world audience. “I Want It All Back” was the first step in that commitment.
“This is an exciting journey,” said Montoya. “To my fans who love my guitar, I say come to me with open ears. The guitar is still there, but it’s not the only voice I have. Listen to me as an artist who is growing and grow with me.”