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Alternative 01/10/2008

Acoustic Aficionado And Songwriter Monte Montgomery Returns With Self-Titled Release

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Nashville, Tenn. (Top40 Charts/ By Kissy Black / Lotos Nile Media) - Austin-based guitar-slinger and songwriter Monte Montgomery will once again turn the music world on its well-tuned ear with the release of his self-titled seventh studio album on September 30th on Eminent Records with distribution through Thirty Tigers/Sony RED Music.

Named as one of Guitar Player Magazine's "Top 50 All-Time Greatest Guitarists" and the only artist to win the "Best Acoustic Guitar Player" at the Austin Music Awards seven years straight, Monte Montgomery is world-renowned for his dizzying fretboard wizardry. Guitar hero status aside, Montgomery is also a multi-dimensional songwriter and storyteller as well as a talented arranger and remarkably soulful vocalist. He is one of the very few living guitar gods able to synergize technical shredding with deep soul connection in his songs and performances. Austin City Limits producer Terry Lickona describes the musician perfectly, "Monte Montgomery blows people away. There is no other way to describe it."

On his self-titled release, Montgomery tastefully demonstrates a guitar flair that is mind-blowingly technically proficient without sounding overbearing, self-absorbed or pretentious. Occasionally percussive yet always fluid, Montgomery's high-speed, vicious fingerpicking attack is beautifully accented by deftly placed harmonics, hyper speed fretboard work and neck bends. With the vertigo-inspiring swoops and dives, most are amazed when learning that this is an amplified acoustic instrument and not a Stratocaster. But what completes the six-string driven energy is the strength and depth of Montgomery's storytelling and emotive, affecting vocals.

Monte Montgomery is a collection of love songs and straight-out rockers, where the artist is the author of 11 of the album's 12 tracks.
From the opener, the swampy, slippery, slide-driven "River" to the beautiful, well-orchestrated "Love's Last Holiday" through the album's closer, the well-crafted, dark "Midlife Matinee," Montgomery exhibits his obvious songwriting chops, melding Motown soul with modern rock and holding onto enough twang to enrapture any Texas Music adherent. Montgomery is solidly backed by the rhythm section of David Piggott on bass and Phil Bass on drums and the addition of guest Reese Wynans' (organ) on the Latin-tinged "Moonlight Tango" and the funky, jazzy "Could've Loved You Forever."

Praised as highly for jaw-dropping live interpretations of the songs of his heroes Lindsey Buckingham, Mark Knopfler and Jimi Hendrix as he is for his original compositions, the lone cover here is the 10-minute-plus tribute-opus of Hendrix' "Little Wing," where Montgomery channels the spirits of the string gods. With the current industry trend to over process and create cut-and-pasted music, "Little Wing," as well as the entirety of Monte Montgomery was recorded live in the studio with no overdubs. This record was accomplished with GRAMMY-nominated engineer Rob Clark and produced by John Billings. According to Montgomery, "...some very clever mic placement techniques from Rob and John enabled us all to set up in the same room and just play each song straight through."

If YouTube is where today's stars are showcased, Montgomery is again in a class by himself. With millions of views of his fan-recorded videos, he's a star on the Internet already. This coupled with a multitude of devoted fan sites and tributes from his devotees, the "Montiacs," and a rigorous touring schedule which will place the musician in over 150 international cities this year, Montgomery is showing one convert at a time that it's still all about the live performance. As the LA Times puts it, "The bottom line; don't miss a chance to see and hear Monte Montgomery. He is a legend in the making. Astounding, unforgettable raw passion and artistry at its finest."

Not since Joe Satriani and fellow Austinite Eric Johnson in the early '90s has a guitarist broken through to the masses. It's about time for a guitarist's guitarist to return to the mainstream fold. Monte Montgomery is poised to make that leap.

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