The Show: Wednesday, January 9, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The Aardvark

By Ken Shimamoto

How Monte Montgomery gets roped in with the Americana crowd, I’m not sure. He certainly doesn’t share much sonically with the likes of Pat Green and Cross Canadian Ragweed.

Contrary to what one might expect from his bio (Mom was a Luckenbach-based folkie; her gigs were all stolen by young Monte), there’s not a lot of country in the mix here. In fact, when Montgomery essays a Merle Haggard tune on his new Live at the Caravan of Dreams c.d., he sounds like he’s taking the piss out of Hag. Curious, to say the least. But he gets bonus points for having the good taste to cut a live double disc at the late, lamented downtown venue after finding out it was closing.

The proximate model here is more like how the Dave Matthews Band would sound if Matthews were a really killer guitarist. Montgomery’s songs, like Dave Matthews’, run on funky syncopations and percussion-driven grooves. Within a single song, he’ll use the plethora of effects connected to his Alvarez acoustic-electric to switch smoothly from a crystalline timbre to a thick, saturated tone. His axe assaults have a lot in common with the playing of that elusive perfectionist and fellow Austinite Eric Johnson — so dazzling is his fretwork, so fertile is his melodic imagination.

Not only that, but the cat can sing, too. Montgomery’s choice of covers reveals roots in ’70s pop-rock — the Lindsay Buckingham-era Fleetwood Mac, Dire Straits, even, uh, Hall and Oates — and he himself is a practitioner of the moody, gravel-throated Paul Rodgers method of rock vocalizing.

With this and the upcoming Derek Trucks Band show, it looks like Aardvark impresario/Action guitarist Danny Weaver might be trying to transform his flagship club into Guitar Freaks’ Heaven. No complaints here.

Sat at the Aardvark, 2905 W Berry St, FW. 817-926-7814.


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