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Coco Montoya and Tinsley Ellis

  • Open Chord 8502 Kingston Pike Knoxville, TN, 37919 United States (map)
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Smoky Mountain Blues Society presents:
Coco Montoya & Tinsley Ellis

Tuesday, March 19th
All Ages | 7pm | $30

The old Willie Dixon adage, "blues is truth," perfectly describes the searing, contemporary blues-rock of world-renowned guitarist and vocalist Coco Montoya. Taught by the "Master of the Telecaster," Albert Collins, but with a hard-edged sound and style all his own, Montoya mixes his forceful, melodic guitar playing and passionate vocals with memorable songs, delivering the blues' hardest truths.

He earned his status as a master guitarist and soul-powered vocalist through years of paying his dues as a sideman with Collins (first as a drummer) and then with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, before launching his solo career in 1993. Five years of constant touring with Collins and ten years with Mayall turned him into a monster player and dynamic performer. Montoya has released eight solo albums—including three for Alligator between 2000 and 2007—and has played at clubs, concert halls and major festivals all over the world. Guitar Player says Montoya plays "stunning, powerhouse blues with a searing tone, emotional soloing, and energetic, unforced vocals."


Since his Alligator Records debut 30 years ago, Southern blues-rock guitar wizard, vocalist and songwriter Tinsley Ellis has become a bona fide worldwide guitar hero. The Chicago Sun-Times says, "It's hard to overstate the raw power of his music." His latest album, Winning Hand, features ten brilliantly performed, fervently sung tracks, ranging from blistering blues to heart-pounding rock to soulful ballads.


Armed with his signature molten licks, melodic riffs and rousing, intense solos, Ellis, as his legions of fans will attest, is among the blues world's best-loved and most well-travelled statesmen. He is revered for his guitar virtuosity, passionate vocals and memorable original songs. He is also known as a guitarist's guitarist, with famous friends including Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Oliver Wood, Jonny Lang and members of Widespread Panic calling on him to sit in and jam. "A musician never got famous staying home," he says.