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      Coco Montoya in Cleveland

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      June 20, 2019

      Thursday   8:00 PM

      15711 Waterloo Road
      Cleveland, Ohio 44110

      Coco Montoya

      with Sam Hooper Group
      "Stratocaster-fueled, fierce slash-and-burn guitar work...dramatic,smoldering Southern soul-rooted intensity. Montoyas voice is asexpressive as his guitar." Washington Post"Montoya is a show-stopper...Heartfelt singing and merciless guitarwith a wicked icy burn...he swings like a jazz man and stings like theIceman, Albert Collins. He is one of the truly gifted blues artists of hisgeneration." Living BluesThe old Willie Dixon adage, blues is truth, perfectly describes the searing,contemporary blues-rock ofworld-renowned guitarist and vocalist Coco Montoya. Taught by the Master of theTelecaster, Albert Collins, but with a hard-edged sound and style all his own,Montoya mixes his forceful, melodic guitar playing and passionate vocals withmemorable songs, delivering the blues hardest truths. He earned his status as amaster guitarist and soul-powered vocalist through years of paying his dues as asideman with Collins (first as a drummer) and then with John MayallsBluesbreakers, before launching his solo career in 1993. Five years of constanttouring with Collins and ten years with Mayall turned him into a monster playerand dynamic performer. Montoya has released eight solo albumsincluding threefor Alligator between 2000 and 2007and has played at clubs, concert halls andmajor festivals all over the world. Guitar Player says Montoya plays stunning,powerhouse blues with a searing tone, emotional soloing, and energetic, unforcedvocals.Returning to Alligator with his new album, Hard Truth, Montoya delivers onecareer-topping performance after another, the music immediately ranking amongthe best hes ever recorded. Produced by drummer Tony Braunagel (Eric Burdon,Curtis Salgado, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt), the album features eleven songs, eachdelivering a hard truth of its own. From the radio-friendly, gospel-inspiredcelebration of love, I Want To Shout About It, to the haunting Devil Dont Sleep tothe icy-hot cover of Albert Collins The Moon Is Full, Hard Truth covers a lot ofemotional ground. Montoyas unpredictable guitar playing and smoking soulvocals blend effortlessly with a backing band featuring renowned musiciansincluding bassist Bob Glaub (Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Jerry Lee Lewis),keyboardist Mike Finnigan (Jimi Hendrix, Etta James, Taj Mahal), guitarists BillyWatts (Eric Burdon) and Johnny Lee Schell (Bonnie Raitt), and Braunagel ondrums. Slide guitar master Lee Roy Parnell guests on Lost In The Bottle.Henry Coco Montoya was born in Santa Monica, California, on October 2, 1951,and raised in a working class family. Growing up, Coco immersed himself in hisparents record collection. He listened to big band jazz, salsa, doo-wop and rockn roll. His first love was drums; he acquired a kit at age 11. He got a guitar twoyears later. Im sure the Beatles had something to do with this, Montoya recalls.I wanted to make notes as well as beats. But guitar was his secondaryinstrument. Montoya turned his love of drumming into his profession, playing in anumber of area rock bands while still in his teens and eventually becoming an indemanddrummer.In 1969, Montoya saw Albert King opening up a Creedence ClearwaterRevival/Iron Butterfly concert at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. He wastransformed. After Albert got done playing, says Montoya, my life was changed.When he played, the music went right into my soul. It grabbed me so emotionallythat I had tears welling up in my eyes. Nothing had ever affected me to this level.He showed me what music and playing the blues were all about. I knew that waswhat I wanted to do.Then fate took over. In the early 1970s, Albert Collins was booked to play amatinee at the same small club in Culver City, California where Montoya hadplayed the night before. The club owner gave Collins permission to use Montoyasdrums. Montoya continues the story: I show up to pick up my equipment and Isee that someone had been playing my drums and I got a little angry with the clubowner. So Albert called me up at the club and was real nice and apologetic. I wentdown to see his show and it just tore my head off. The thing that I had seen andfelt with Albert King came pouring back on me when I saw Albert Collins.A few months later, Collins desperately needed a drummer for a tour of theNorthwest and he called Coco. When he called, recalls Coco, I figured wedrehearse for a few weeks before the tour. Instead, he told me hed pick me up inthree hours. During the tour, Albert took Montoya under his wing, teaching himabout blues music and life on the road. After the tour ended, Montoya remained inthe band for five more years. It was during this time that Coco began doubling onguitar. And Albert went out of his way to teach him. Wed sit in hotel rooms forhours and play guitar, remembers Montoya. Hed play that beautiful rhythm ofhis and just have me play along. He was always saying, Dont think about it, justfeel it. He taught me to tap into an inner strength. What a great gift he gave me.As Montoyas guitar playing improved, his relationship with the blues legend keptgrowing. He was like a father to me, says Coco, who often crashed at Collinshome. When he declared Montoya his son, it was the highest praise andaffection he could offer. In return, Montoya learned everything he could from thelegendary Master of the Telecaster. Montoya often pays tribute to his mentor,recording a Collins song on almost every album hes made. But he will only coveran Albert Collins song if he can make it his own. One of the things Albert taughtme is to interpret a song your own way, Montoya says. He was never impressedwith people who would imitate him note for note.As disco began to take over and gigs began to dry up, Montoya left Collins band,but the two remained close friends. Montoya worked as a bartender, figuring hiscareer as a professional musician was over. But luck was still on his side. Onenight in the early 1980s, Montoya was jamming in a Los Angeles bar when JohnMayall walked in. Thinking quickly, Montoya launched into All Your Love I MissLoving as a tribute, and Mayall took note. Soon after, Mayall needed a guitarist forthe newly reformed Bluesbreakers, and he called Coco. Filling the shoes ofprevious Bluesbreaker guitarists Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor wouldnot be easy, but Montoya knew he could not pass up the opportunity to play withanother blues legend. For the next ten years he toured the world and recordedwith Mayall, soaking up the experience of life on the road and in the recordingstudio. Along with fellow Bluesbreaker guitarist Walter Trout, Montoya was afeatured member of the band, and often opened shows with his own blisteringblues.By the early 1990s, Montoya felt ready for a change. He put his own bandtogether and hit the road, proving himself night after night. His debut as a leader,1995s Gotta Mind To Travel (originally on Silvertone Records in England andlater issued in the USA on Blind Pig Records), became an instant fan favorite.Blues fans, radio programmers and critics sent praise from all corners. The albumimmediately made it clear that Montoya was a guitarist and vocalist who rankedamong the best players on the contemporary blues scene. In 1996, he wasnominated for four Blues Music Awards and walked away with the award for BestNew Blues Artist. Two more Blind Pig albums followed, and Coco was well on hisway to the top of the blues-rock world.In 2000, Cocos Alligator debut, Suspicion, quickly became the best-sellingalbum of his career, earning regular radio airplay on over 120 stations nationwide.Montoyas fan base exploded. After two more highly successful Alligatorreleases2002s massively popular Cant Look Back and 2007s Dirty DealMontoya signed with Ruf Records, cutting both a live and a studio album.Back home on Alligator with Hard Truth, Montoya will hit the highway, playing hisheart out night after night for fans hungry for the real thing. Still an indefatigableroad warrior, Montoya continues to pack clubs and theaters around the world, andbrings festival audiences to their feet from New York to New Orleans to Chicagoto San Francisco. Across the globe, hes performed in countries includingAustralia, 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 withguitar that cuts straight to the heart of the matter. His guitar playing is funky andblistering; its perfect. Whatever he plays, he does it with fire and passion rarelyseen in this day and age.

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