The old Willie Dixon adage, “blues is truth,” perfectly describes the searing, contemporary blues-rock of world-renowned guitarist and vocalist Coco Montoya, here appearing with the great Chicago bluesman, Ronnie Baker Brooks. Taught by the “Master of the Telecaster,” Albert Collins, but with a hard-edged sound and style all his own, Montoya mixes his forceful, melodic guitar playing and passionate vocals with memorable songs, delivering the blues’ hardest truths.
In a career that spans almost four decades, Montoya has gone from drumming for blues icon Albert Collins to holding the lead guitar spot in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers to leading his own band and touring worldwide.
His new release, COMING IN HOT, features 11 songs that range from blistering, hard-rocking blues to potent shuffles to fervent, moving ballads. Montoya delivers each song with uncompromising, dynamic energy.
On the first day recording “Times Have Changed” – the eleven-track album from Chicago bluesman Ronnie Baker Brooks that brings a sound so big it could topple a Louisiana juke joint – industry-revered album producer and drummer Steve Jordan told Brooks to put his pedal board back in the van. For the first time in his professional life, Brooks, the son of Texas and Chicago blues legend Lonnie “Guitar Jr.” Brooks, would plug a Gibson into TKTK amp and rip it straight from there.
“Back to the basics. The pedals get in the way of your tone – your natural tone. Any distortion I had came straight out of the amp.” Brooks remembers from the Times sessions. “It was almost like going to college, or grad school. It was definitely an education.”
Brooks likes to treat each album he makes as a platform for him to grow, but the reality is that he’s been climbing the blues world’s latter all his life. He was born in Chicago, and started playing guitar around age six. At 19, he joined his father, who by then had influenced some of the most well-known bluesman of our history: Jimmy Reed, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Johnny Winter, and Junior Wells. For 12 years the two would tour together, putting Ronnie out front with Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Koko Taylor. In 1998, when he was 32, his father told him to go solo.