By Al Kaufman
Monte Montgomery is an extraordinary guitarist. Of that there can be no doubt. One need just listen to his tremendous instrumental cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” to understand that. It is powerful enough to make a grown man weep.
Montgomery is also adept and writing his own rock/blues songs. “River,” a seven-plus minute epic that opens the CD, has a big, wide open sound full of turbulent weather imagery. It recalls early an early Chris Whitley both vocally and musically. “Moonlight Tango” is something Carlos Santana would be proud to call his own. And “Can’t Fool Everyone” is just pure thumping energy. Even when the songs are just average, such as on “Could’ve Loved You Forever,” he makes sure to add a solo that makes listening worth while.
But it is as if Montgomery realized that his axe playing will only attract a bunch of guitar geek guys. He wanted to make sure he reached the women. So he wrote songs like the bad ’80s pop-sounding “Everything About You.” But that’s not his worse offense. The saccharin-esque “Love’s Last Holiday” is actually out sweetened by “How Far,” and “Midlife Matinee,” both of which sound as if they were penned by the bastard child of John Mayer and Billy Joel at his most “Just the Way You Are” moment.
Montgomery has flashes of brilliance on here, but his songwriting does not quite live up to his guitar playing. But on the times when it does . . . ooh baby. More will be heard from this soon to be guitar legend.