This 11- cut collection finds guitarist/singer Coco Montoya fronting an all-star cast including Mike Finnigan on keys, Johnny Lee Schell on rhythm guitar, Bob Glaub on bass and Tony Braugnagel on drums. Schooled in blues guitar at the side of Albert Collins and then John Mayall, Montoya has a stinging, lyrical style on lead guitar with the economy of licks that comes from playing in a band rather than always fronting it. The fare here reveals his keen ear for a variety of blues styles. "Lost in the Bottle" and the Allman Brothers classic, "Before the Bullets Fly" are hard-hitting blues rockers while Ronnie Earl’s "I Want to Shout About It" has more of a gospel soul groove, "Devil Don’t Sleep" is a slice of swampy atmosphere and Marshall Chapman’s "Old Habits Are Hard to Break" is a slow grinder. Speaking of old habits, Montoya finds himself slipping back onto the prowl when his affections aren’t returned, "I’ll Find Someone Who Will" and dips back into the Albert Collins songbook on the funky, percussive, "The Moon is Full". On the self-penned "Hard as Hell" he taps into the age old “can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em” storyline growling that while “loving you wasn’t easy/losing you is hard as hell” While known primarily for his prowess on guitar, Montoya is an able, assured vocalist who brings everything from a smooth soul croon, "Where Can a Man Go From Here" to a full-throated powerful roar that could find a home in 70’s era arena rock, "Lost In the Bottle". Another solid release from this veteran of the blues scene. SMITTY

review by Mark

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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