Sunday, October 04, 2015

Coco Montoya Songs From the Road

The latest in Ruf Records “Songs From the Road” series is by Coco Montoya. The series of live recordings seeks to capture typical performances and in this case Montoya was recorded over two-nights at Seattle’s Triple Door with Jim Gaines in the house to produce it. Montoya is supported by Brant Leeper on keyboards, Nathan Brown on bass and Rena Beavers on drums. Leeper and Beavers also contribute backing vocals.

14 sons are spread over the two CDs clocking in at just under 2 hours and provide a retrospective of his career. Fans of Montoya undoubtedly will enjoy this with his husky singing and guitar playing. There is a fair amount of Albert Collins’ influence heard whether on the opening song, Collins’ “I Got a Mind To Travel” or Montoya’s original “Love Jail” that he wrote for Collins but Collins never recorded. Leeper’s keyboards contributes to this flavor and he certain adds both support and additional musical coloring (as well as provides several strong solos) while the rhythm section of Brown and Beavers kept a nice relaxed groove going.

One strength of the recording is the pace of the performance. The musical never sounds hurried or frenzied and the groove is solid whether handling a slow blues, a blues-infused rock song or the driving rendition of “Fannie Mae.” While having a somewhat limited vocal range, Montoya sings well and delivers his vocals with a lot of heart. The only fault might be the length of some of the performances which might not sustain interest listening at home as much as they pleased the Triple Door crowd. That is inherent in the nature of Ruf’s documentation of these performances which serves to capture Coco Montoya on a representative performance. Coco Montoya’s “Songs From the Road" certainly accomplishes this purpose quite well.

I received from Ruf Records or a publicist. I have made a few minor changes from the review which appeared in the January-Fenruary 2015 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 358). Here is a video of Coco performing I Got a Mind To Travel.”

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