Guitar Wizard Monte Montgomery Hits The Road
Singer, songwriter and guitar genius Austin’s Monte Montgomery and his band return to Fayetteville’s George’s Majestic Feb. 4 and Tulsa Little Theatre Feb. 5. Lyrics and licks go hand in hand for this exceptional musician whose skillful songwriting and vocal talent are the perfect complements to his technical prowess. Named one of the “Top 50 All-Time Greatest Guitar Players” by Guitar Player magazine, Montgomery is more than just a killer axeman. This seven-time Austin Music Award winner writes songs that run the gamut from edgy rock and soulful blues to hooky pop and meandering jazz, delivering them with distinctive vocals and infectious energy.
Montgomery was into music from an early age. “My mom was one of those hippie, gypsy guitar player, folk singer, songwriter kind of girls,” Montgomery explained. “She moved to Texas from Birmingham without me and laid down roots here and fell into the whole music scene,” he recalled. “By the time I came to Texas years later, she was surrounded by musicians. When I got here, my whole life was centered around her life which was music. On any given day, I would have a number of guitar players playing around me, and I was able to pick up a lot of guitar really quickly early on because I had so many instructors around me. All I had to do was watch.”
While Montgomery has spent a significant part of his life on the road, for a number of years, he’s been composing the music for Tim Allen’s ABC sitcom, “Last Man Standing.” The series is in its fifth season and was recently syndicated. This TV gig has allowed Montgomery to spend more time at his house in Austin, working from his home studio with audio engineer Fred Remmert, who has worked on several of Montgomery’s albums. “It’s great. It’s a custom made gig for me,” Montgomery commented.
With a studio and engineer conveniently on-site, Montgomery has also been recording music in anticipation of a new release. According to Montgomery, recording from home, without the normal studio pressures of time and budget, has been a luxury he’s enjoyed. “I’ve really been able to take my time and really get things the way I want them and live with them for a while and go back and tweak them…I think that’s going to pay dividends as far as the whole body of work is concerned.”
Although Montgomery has brought his band to the studio to record some of the songs, on many of them, he’s played all of the instruments himself. “Bass is like an extension of the guitar. It’s just a different mindset, but that’s a fun instrument to play. But drums, I wouldn’t call my self a great drummer,” he laughed. “But I’m good enough to piece something together in the studio.”
Montgomery frequently composes on piano, which he learned to play even before he picked up a guitar. “Piano takes you to a place that guitar doesn’t because of the different vibe the piano gives, the different tambour, the different texture. It’s just a lot more lush,” he commented. “And the other thing is, I know the guitar so well. It’s just different for me to sit down at the piano because I might stumble on to something.”
Montgomery is grateful for this opportunity to work from home. “The life of a band on the road is fun, but it can definitely take its toll in a number of ways personally,” he admitted.
For Montgomery, less time on tour has allowed him to spend more time with his young son. “I’m raising my son who’s 11. I’m like a full time dad. I work out of my house and play when and where I want these days.”
Fortunately for his fans, Montgomery still likes to hit the highway now and then. “I do miss some aspects of the road and traveling and being in front of audiences that I don’t get to play in front of much, so I do look forward to getting out and bringing some new material out and working the road a bit,” he mused. “It’s been a great break, and I’m not looking to jump back into it full time, but I’m definitely excited about getting out there and doing a little run here and a little run there and doing it in a way that’s fun and doing it because I want to and not because I have to. That’s really the main difference.”
-With permission from Red Dirt Nation