Photo by Victoria Smith
(NEWTON, NJ) -- Award-winning, internationally renowned blues-rock guitarist, singer and songwriter Coco Montoya will celebrate the September release of his sixth Alligator Records album (and first release in four years), Writing On The Wall, with a live performance at The Newton Theatre in Newton on Saturday, October 7, 2023 at 8:00pm.
Mentored by the “Master of the Telecaster,” Albert Collins, and schooled by a decade on the road with John Mayall, Montoya has a hard-edged sound and style all his own. Since his debut album in 1995 (which won him the Blues Music Award for Best New Artist), Montoya’s endlessly inventive guitar work and passionate, hard-hitting vocals have kept him at the top of the blues world.
With Writing On The Wall, Montoya delivers what he is already 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. Between the camaraderie of the long-time bandmates and the sheer talent of all involved, the results have left Coco, in his words, “over the moon.”
Tickets range from $34-$49 and are available for purchase online. The Newton Theatre is located at 234 Spring Street in Newton, New Jersey.
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 fueled 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 was 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 favorite 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. "Montoya unleashes one career-topping performance after another," declared the UK’s Blues Matters.
Now, with the dynamic Writing On The Wall and a tour calendar busting at the seams, Coco Montoya is as excited as he’s ever been to perform the new songs live with his burning-hot band. Montoya’s well-earned reputation as an eye-popping live performer precedes him. Vintage Guitar states, “Coco keeps getting better and better. He plays with fire and passion rarely seen in this day and age.” Billboard declares, “In a world of blues guitar pretenders, Coco Montoya is the real McCoy. He exudes power and authenticity. Be prepared to get scorched by the real thing.”