Coco Montoya Biography

Santa Monica, California, USA. Montoya first rose to prominence in 1972 when a chance meeting in Culver City, California, led him to join Albert Collins’ band as drummer. He took every opportunity to study the master guitarist closely over the five years they worked together. Thereafter Montoya concentrated on his day job, until another chance meeting shaped his future. John Mayall overheard him playing guitar at a club gig and asked him to join his Bluesbreakers. After 10 years further tuition under Mayall, during which he appeared on three studio albums and the excellent live set Behind The Iron Curtain, Montoya finally went solo in 1993. Gotta Mind To Travel revealed a resonant blues singing voice in addition to his expected prowess as a guitarist. The following year Montoya won the W.C. Handy Award for Best New Blues Artist. Two more acclaimed albums followed for Blind Pig but it was with Suspicion that Montoya really made his mark. The songs on the album, his first for Alligator Records, were chosen from around 300 candidates. The stand-out track, ‘Nothing But Love’, was written with his long-time songwriting partner Dave Steen and stemmed from the final words Albert Collins had said to Montoya in 1993: ‘I’ve got nothing but love in my heart and soul’.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.