Coco Montoya

Even thought he was a member of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers for more than a decade, Coco Montoya remains one of the most underappreciated old-school blues guitarists. Touring in support of his most recent disc, the fiery and soulful Dirty Deal, Montoya has always been an equal to genre heavyweights such as Buddy Guy and B.B. King. Produced by Paul Barrere and featuring members of Little Feat, the new effort is the kind of classic blues/soul that has sadly become anachronistic to many of the younger practitioners of the blues, those who sacrifice the song for the solo. Sure, Montoya's guitar is front and center in the mix, but there is room to roam for the groove and feeling expressed in songs such as Montoya's own "Coin Operated Love" and Johnny Copeland's poignant "It's My Own Tears." Few working the blues circuit today can tackle chestnuts from Otis Rush and Lowell Fulson and invest them with the kind of authentic integrity that Montoya so effortlessly generates.