James Montgomery - Live at the Larcom
Live at the Larcom
The blues singer/harpist dubbed "The John Mayall of New England" by no less an authority than Peter Wolf has a new CD released this past fall which was only available at shows. "Live at the Larcom" contains the finest cuts from a James Montgomery show. What his audience has come to expect over the years doesn't even begin to touch the quality of the performance captured on this CD.
The recording is from a show James and the band performed at the Larcom Theater in Beverly, MA on May 21, 2015. The initial show was put on to help raise funds to make a small contribution to various organizations throughout the region that assist our Veterans and provide them with needed services. As the project was being put together James came upon the idea of not providing a little help, but rather making it an ongoing fundraising campaign. This lead to the decision to make the show more than just a live event but rather a CD which could keep on helping Veterans for as long as possible.
The goal, once it was decided to make it a CD, was to work at finding some partner organizations to both help sell the CD as well as to provide funding for the needs of the local Veterans. It was released with 2 events in November 2015 with shows at both Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA and back at the Larcom Theatre. The shows went off well and featured a line-up of some of New Englands' best known performers joining to help with the release. The list of people is too long to list but we do want those who helped or attended the live events we owe them a sincere thank you. To those of you who did not have a chance to attend one of the shows or are just a strong supporter of Veteran's causes please feel free to indulge yourself through purchasing a copy of this great CD.
A portion of all proceeds raised through the sales of this CD will be donated to various organizations throughout the New England region. We have established a relationship with several we feel will deliver services we believe are needed. That doesn't mean we would not like to find more organizations to become part of our network. Please feel free to check us out for more Veterans events on Facebook at V is for Veterans
We'd also like to extend our thanks to Colonel Scott Brown (US Army retired) for his support and assistance with this project. We'd like to thank him as much for his performance on it; but then he'd think he's too big to sit-in with us in the future.
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From Detroit To Delta
From the WBUR Interview - July 3, 2012
Few musicians have had a career like that of James Montgomery. He learned how to play the blues harmonica in Detroit from none other than blues masters James Cotton, John Lee Hooker and Junior Wells.
But it was in Boston that Montgomery's career really took off in the 1970s. The James Montgomery Band was as popular as the J. Geils Band, and Montgomery even toured with Geils frontman Peter Wolf, along with Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, Bruce Springsteen and others.
Montgomery has always loved mixing it up — the blues, he says, is more than just its customary 12 bars. In his latest album, Montgomery goes back to its source, the Mississippi Delta. The album is called "From Detroit to the Delta."
Bring It On Home
The James Montgomery Band's "Bring It On Home" is available from Payloadz.
"As Bring It On Home's Sonny Boy Williamson—inspired title implies, Montgomery uses the 11 cuts to pay tribute to his mentors, including James Cotton and the late Junior Wells, who taught him the tricks of blowing harp. Cotton duets with Montgomery on the acoustic numbers "Sinkin' Blues" and "Junior's Jump," the latter a tune Montgomery wrote using some of his favorite Wells licks.
For Montgomery, the disc is a joyous recollection of his earliest days as a musician, when Wells, Cotton, John Lee Hooker, and other artists playing the Hastings Street dives and after-hours clubs of his native Detroit would let him sit in — giving the white teenager an on-the-job education in how to play Delta-derived electric blues. Bring It On Home is also a manifesto of sorts. Montgomery, who lives in Providence, explains, "I found that people in the industry were confused. 'James Montgomery? Kind of blues, kind of rock, and kind of funk?' Because in my previous albums I had tried to show the paths that blues had taken. But I've always considered them blues records.
"So this time I went back to my roots. The producer Marc Copley, who also played guitar, is kind of a cutting-edge guy. So we decided to put together an album that proves I'm a blues musician, but we also wanted it to be textural — to put spooky and dark things in the background. Once we had that concept, we picked songs that referenced artists who meant a lot to me."
The blend of gutty blues — buoyed by Montgomery's direct, gritty singing and his command of a wide spray of electric- and acoustic-harmonica tones — and moody sonics works well. Low, tremolo'd guitar awash with reverb sends chills through "Back on My Knees Again"; subtle shifts in the guitar's presence and attack (from slide to tremolo to rumbling rhythm) on the Willie Dixon–penned and Williamson-associated title number has the effect of raising the spirits of the music's past. For the present, Montgomery has a killer version of his band together, featuring drummer Marty Richards, bassist David Hull, and guitarist
Matt Woodburn" - The Boston Phoenix
The Oven Is On
The James Montgomery Band's "The Oven Is On" is available from Payloadz.
When blues legend James Montgomery plays the harmonica, he "brings it on home". Whether it's recording with Kid Rock, sitting in with Gregg Allman, or fronting his hot band of thirty years, Montgomery plays with authority. While growing up in Detroit he learned first-hand from the masters - James Cotton, John Lee Hooker, and Jr. Wells - at the legendary "Chessmate." Over the years, he's carried on in the tradition and continues to be a vital presence in Blues as one of the most dynamic performers on the scene.
First Time Out
The James Montgomery Band's "First Time Out" is available from Payloadz.