Music » Livewire

Coco Montoya

With the Sam Getz Band. Wednesday, March 3, at the Beachland Ballroom.


Finding the right teachers can do wonders for one's education. In Coco Montoya's case, the teachers found him. The super-journeyman blues guitarist and vocalist has been in the right place at the ideal moment more than once in his career, and the tutelage he received has paid in spades. Backing up his formidable blues chops with plenty of rock and roll muscle, Montoya has scored large with critics and established himself as a world-class blues-rocker.

Starting out on drums, the L.A.-bred Montoya hooked up in the mid-'70s with Albert Collins, when the late blues master was in need of a touring drummer. The guitar legend's energy and intensity clicked resoundingly with rock listeners, and he tutored his young drummer in many a hotel room. When gigs got scarce, Montoya returned to L.A. and to the woodshed. He was jamming at a local bar when John Mayall -- no slouch at judging guitar talent -- showed up. Montoya's prowess put him in line to follow Clapton, Peter Green, and Mick Taylor into the lead guitar slot of Mayall's re-formed Bluesbreakers for 10 years. Montoya went solo in 1995, amassing a respectable catalog last added to in 2002 with Can't Look Back, a top-notch crossover blues effort dosed with minor-keyed torch ballads, a flash of Motown, and heaps of rock power.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.