Bluesdays Coco Montoya plays like Albert King
August 9, 2012
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. andamp;#8212; As a teenager, Coco Montoya went to a concert and experienced Creedence Clearwater Revival, Iron Butterfly and an epiphany. Also performing was Albert King, the man who played a Flying V guitar left-handed and upside-down, creating a tone and style that inspired Stevie Ray Vaughan and many others. andamp;#8220;It changed my life,andamp;#8221; Montoya said. andamp;#8220;That was it when I saw we both played the same way. andamp;#8220;I started guitar at 13. I just picked up guitar left-handed andamp;#8212; I didn’t know there was a difference. It’s pretty much what Albert King went through. And Otis Rush. There was nobody there to tell us andamp;#8216;no.’ We just did what we did and self-taught.andamp;#8221; After seeing King, Montoya’s musical path was carved, and the colors along the way were blues. He played drums in the 1970s with Albert Collins and guitar in the ’80s with John Mayall andamp; the Bluesbreakers. He also appeared with the Cate Brothers, a generally under appreciated southern soul band. Since 1995, Montoya has released nine of his own records, the most recent being Ruf Record’s 2010’s andamp;#8220;I Want It All Back,andamp;#8221; produced by Keb’ Mo’ and Mo’s longtime keyboard partner, Jeff Paris. andamp;#8220;Do I consider myself a real blues player?andamp;#8221; Montoya said. andamp;#8220;Probably not, because I have such a mixture of things, but blues is the root of pretty much everything American. It’s gotten me where I am. andamp;#8220;I kind of look at it like looking at a painting. You cover it up and don’t let anybody see it until you’re done. Then you take the canvas off and say, andamp;#8216;Here you go,’ and people either frown at it or smile at it. I leave that up the them.andamp;#8221; Montoya performs from 6-8:30 p.m.Tuesday at the Squaw Valley Village’s Bluesdays. The outdoor show is free.