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Guitarist Jams Through Writer's Block On New Album

Of the Oakland Press

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Blues guitarist Coco Montoya shoulders the blame for a 4 1 /2-year break between albums.

“Y’know, I just wasn’t writing very much, wasn’t very productive — that’s the honest truth of it all,” says Montoya, 55, a California native who played drums for Albert Collins before switched to guitar in the mid-’70s, joining John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and then setting off on his own in the mid’90s.

“I just wasn’t finding material that would lend itself to inspire me to actually go into the studio. If you’re not fi nding the correct material, I’d rather not go in just to do an album because you think it’s time rather than doing something you think is worthy of the effort. I wish it could’ve been sooner, but I’m glad we waited.”

Montoya finally delivered his sixth album, “Dirty Deal” in January, and credits its producer, Paul Barerre of Little Feat, with helping him hone in on the right material and achieve a raw, rocking sound in the studio.

Now, Montoya says, the goal is to both promote the new album but be more attuned to fresh ideas so that there won’t be quite as long a wait for the next one.

“Writing’s never been my forte,” he acknowledges, “and never something I’ve excelled that. I just try my best to keep ideas stored away. I carry a little recorder, and I just put that in my pocket in case lyrics come up or a guitar lick, and just go from there.

“But there’s really nothing else that I know how to do to be more productive. It’s a very frustrating thing to write; some people love it, some don’t. I have to be really, really inspired for it to actually become fun.”

Coco Montoya performs Sunday (March 18th) at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call (248) 544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

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