Coco Montoya: Coming in Hot (Alligator/Southbound)

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What Am I?
Coco Montoya: Coming in Hot (Alligator/Southbound)
He got guitar tips from the great Albert Collins when he played (drums) in his band in the Seventies and in the Eighties was yet another great guitarist in John Mayall's lineage of Bluesbreakers which started with Clapton, Beck and Page.

He's popped up in guest spots but mostly he's had a solid career under his own name for the past two decades . . . but outside blues circles and Guitar Player readers Coco Montoya is hardly a household name.

Elsewhere has mentioned him a few times (mostly in the context of Mayall in the hope that might be a persuasive reference) but we suspect he's just going to remain an acclaimed live attraction and an Alligator Records journeyman after he rejoined the label with his previous Hard Truths, an essential album in his lengthy catalogue.

With the similar Hard Truth band plus guests (like New Orleans pianist Jon Cleary on the title track), Coming In Hot confirms Montoya to not just be a diverse guitar stylist across various iterations of the blues but also a soulful singer (check Stop Runnin' Away From My Love and the slow burning What Am I? Which is pure Southern country-soul).

He digs into Collins' catalogue for Lights Are on But Nobody's Home, Frankie Miller's for Trouble and more recently Allison August's chunky Witness Protection.

This is blues painted on a large canvas but full of interesting corners and blindingly assured guitar playing, and the emotional and stylistic diversity on display – from funk, country to inner-city Chicago – should commend it to more than just a hardcore blues fan.

“Should” sometimes seems such a big word though.

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