Blues-Rock Guitarist Coco Montoya To Release New Album 'Writing On The Wall' + Announces Tour Dates
By Stevie Connor.
On Friday, September 1, award-winning, internationally renowned blues-rock guitarist, singer and songwriter Coco Montoya will release Writing On The Wall, his sixth album for Alligator Records and his first release in four years. The album will initially be available on CD and at all digital sites, with 140g translucent blue vinyl LP to follow on September 29.
In addition to the new album, Montoya announced his coast-to-coast Writing On The Wall Tour, beginning September 21 in Salt Lake City and moving to Chicago, New York and Texas with many stops in between.
With Writing On The Wall, Montoya delivers what he is calling one of the best records he’s ever made. For the very first time on Alligator, he decided to bring his road-tested band—noted keyboardist and songwriter Jeff Paris (Keb’ Mo’, Bill Withers), bassist Nathan Brown, and drummer Rena Beavers — into the studio with him. Guests on the album include Lee Roy Parnell, who adds his well-seasoned slide guitar to the smouldering A Chip And A Chair, and Coco’s friend, guitarist Ronnie Baker Brooks (son of late Alligator star Lonnie Brooks), on the searing cover of Bobby Bland’s You Got Me (Where You Want Me) and on the droll Baby, You’re A Drag. Between the camaraderie of the long-time bandmates and the sheer talent of all involved, the results have Coco feeling, in his words, “over the moon." He continues, "I am so proud of this one. The band played so great, they ended up making me play even harder. They made me sound better than I am!”
Produced by Grammy Award-winner Tony Braunagel (Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal) and co-produced by Jeff Paris, Writing On The Wall is a tour-de-force of memorable, hook-filled songs, sung with passion and fuelled by Montoya's fiery guitar and the band's spot-on musicianship. The 13 tracks include five written or co-written by Montoya. The set opens with a signature, career-defining performance of the soul-baring I Was Wrong, written for Coco by songwriter Dave Steen. The song will be released as the first single from the album, along with a visualizer video, on Monday, July 31.
The self-taught, left-handed Montoya mastered his craft under blues master Albert Collins’ tutelage and friendship. Initially hired to be Collins' drummer, Montoya, at Collins' urging, became the band's second guitarist. A few years later, UK legend John Mayall chose Montoya to be his lead guitarist in the famous Blues Breakers. Montoya traveled the world, soaking up both musical and life lessons.
Montoya’s recorded debut as a bandleader came with 1995’s Gotta Mind To Travel (originally on Silvertone Records in England and later issued in the USA on Blind Pig Records). The album became an instant fan favourite and made it clear that Montoya ranked among the best players on the contemporary blues scene. Two more Blind Pig albums followed, and Coco, with his endlessly inventive guitar work and passionate, hard-hitting vocals, became one of the top draws on the blues circuit.
In 2000, Montoya’s Alligator debut, Suspicion, quickly became the best-selling album of his career, earning regular radio airplay on over 120 commercial stations nationwide. Montoya’s fan base exploded. After two more highly successful and massively popular Alligator releases — 2002’s Can’t Look Back and 2007’s Dirty Deal — Montoya signed with Ruf Records, cutting both a live and a studio album. Returning to Alligator with 2017’s Hard Truth and 2019’s Coming In Hot, the guitar master continued to blaze his trail.
Now, with the dynamic Writing On The Walland a tour overflowing with dates, Coco Montoya is excited to perform the new songs live with his burning-hot band. Montoya’s reputation as an incendiary live performer is well-earned, as he delivers the goods night after night. Vintage Guitar declares, “Coco keeps getting better and better. He plays with fire and passion rarely seen in this day and age.”
Writing On The Wall Tour Dates 9/21 The State Room, Salt Lake City, UT 9/22 Ute Theatre, Rifle, CO 9/24 The Soiled Dove Underground, Denver, CO 9/26 The Zoo Bar, Lincoln, NE 9/27 Dakota, Minneapolis, MN 9/29 Shank Hall, Milwaukee, WI 9/30 Thrasher Opera House, Green Lake, WI 10/1 SPACE, Evanston, IL 10/3 Revival Bar & Event Venue, Toronto, ON 10/4 Fanatics Pub, Lima, NY 10/5 King of Clubs, Syracuse, NY 10/6 Narrows Center for the Arts, Fall River, MA 10/7 The Newton Theatre, Newton, NJ 10/8 Tupelo Music Hall, Derry, NH 10/10 Rams Head On Stage, Annapolis, MD 10/11 The Iridium , New York, NY 10/12 Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, Old Saybrook, CT 10/13 Amp By Strathmore, North Bethesda, MD 10/14 Sellersville Theater, Sellersville, PA 10/15 Jergel's Rhythm Grille, Warrendale, PA 10/17 Headliners Music Hall, Louisville, KY 10/18 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH 10/19 Natalie's Grandview, Columbus, OH 10/20 The Kent Stage, Kent, OH 10/21 The Token Lounge, Westland, MI 10/22 The Jazz Kitchen, Indianapolis, IN 10/24 Songbirds, Chattanooga, TN 10/25 Eddie's Attic, Decatur, GA 10/27 Red Dragon Listening Room, Baton Rouge, LA 10/28 Dosey Doe, The Woodlands, TX 10/29 Fort Brewery, Fort Worth, TX 10/30 Antone's, Austin, TX 11/17 No Stinkin’ Service Charge Blues Series at World Records, Bakersfield, CA 11/19 The Coach House, San Juan, CA
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