Fans trickled into the beautiful Guitar Sanctuary, a true musicians venue, as Jason Lovell and Brad Haefner of Buffalo Ruckus, led off the evening. On acoustic guitar and mandolin, respectively, they played several of their Americana songs to prime the crowd, including "I Aint Drinking In Pagosa" and the always popular "Deep Ellum Blues."
Headliner Monte Montgomery then came out and announced his voice was slightly strained from playing so many recent gigs and he would rely more on his acoustic guitar. As Guitar Player Magazine has voted Monte one of the top 50 all-time guitarists, that didnt bother anyone. He was also voted as the top acoustic player seven years in a row, so there was absolutely no downside.
Starting with "First And Repair," Montgomery mesmerized everyone with his guitar prowess. His finger-picking style made the extremely difficult licks look easy as he seamlessly transitioned between chords. The lyrics of "Wishing Well" told a great story and combining it with a wonderful acoustic jam made toes tap throughout the outstanding venue.
The tight band of Bill Bass on drums and Dave Deshazzo on bass instinctively moved with any small changes Montgomery made to add more shredding to the songs. Moving between ballads and upbeat tempo songs was a pleasure to hear and a little island beat on "Tropical Daydream" made the audience think of laying on the beach, smelling coconut oil and picturing paradise.
Its always amazing how MMs solos fit his songs perfectly and are never superfluous in nature. Even when alone on the stage, he engaged the crowd well and made new fans as he did on "Mirror." Even an instrumental intro broke into an outstanding acoustic performance on the cover of Dire Straits "Romeo And Juliet" for which MM received a well-deserved huge round of applause.
Bass led a drum-driven beat that took too long, while Deshazzo and Montgomery turned "Took Too Long" into an almost flamenco rhythm. The long-time trio once again put the crowd in awe of their musical aptitude that was only surpassed when starting their ending number of the set, "Sara Smile." Most people knew the backstory of Daryl Hall hearing Montes version of the hit song on YouTube and inviting the uber-talented musician onto his television show to sing it with him.
Unfortunately, the show had to end, but new listeners got a taste of a melodic soul known as a guitar aficionado, but in truth was an all-around entertainer on many different levels. Older fans got to see a true musical magician.
Catch Monte Montgomery and his band as they complete a Texas Tour for the next several weeks.
Special thanks to Brian Meader of The Guitar Sanctuary for graciously helping as he always does.