Coco Montoya knows greatness. He plays guitar in the same unusual style as did Albert King and Otis Rush and he had been in bands with Albert Collins and John Mayal. And the really great thing for music fans is that he will play at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, in the Powerhouse Pub in Folsom, California.
Montoya performed Saturday at the Crystal Bay Casino.
Montoya began playing guitar when he was 13. Because the left-hander didn’t have an instructor teach him how to manipulate his instrument, he taught himself to play with the strings upside down.
A fan of rock and roll, he attended a show with Creedence Clearwater Revival, Iron Butterfly and a blues player he did not know: Albert King.
“It changed my life,” he told Tahoe Onstage in 2013.
Not only did King also play his instrument left-handed and upside down, the music he played moved the teenager, who has had a long, successful career as a bluesman, although he has a unique sound.
“Do I consider myself a real blues player? “ he asked. “Probably not, because I have such a mixture of things, but blues is the root of pretty much everything American. It’s gotten me where I am.”
Earlier in his career, Montoya played drums with Collins, who he studied onstage at hotel rooms between shows. He later joined John Mayal and the Bluesmakers, a band that has included a long line of guitar greats, including Peter Green and Walter Trout.
Montoya has many influences.
“I come from the school of everybody,” he said. “I try to never forget that you can always learn something.
“I try to listen to a lot of old rock and roll. I loved do-wop when I was a kid. It just evolved. Everything that you hear influences you. You just soak it up when you’re into music like that.”
In 2014, Montoya released a live album with many of his greatest hits, “Songs from the Road.”