Happy Blue Year
Everyone from Steven Tyler to Patti LaBelle sings this dude's praises — but he couldn't even get arrested in Detroit
Published: December 28, 2011
Montgomery headlines the Antifreeze Blues Festival in Ferndale in early January, with Rockets and Cactus man Jimmy McCarty on guitar. Montgomery can't wait. "I played the Magic Bag before when I was in Johnny Winter's band. I was with him for about four years," he says. "We played there a couple of times. I love the venue, I love playing with McCarty, I love playing Detroit. For me, it's almost like a high school reunion because, when I go back and play, I always see a lot of my buddies, a lot of the guys I went to high school with.
"We all get together on the day off ... and reminisce. McCarty and I go back such a long way. We've been playing together for 35 years or something like that. I think he's the best pure rock 'n' roll guitar player alive today. Nobody does what he does anymore. Everyone's really slick and overplayed. Jimmy's the only guy I know who will take his guitar, turn it around and point it at the amp to get sounds out of there that nobody wants to get anymore, but then when he plays them he's unbelievable. He's such a great player."
To conclude, I ask Montgomery what projects he has coming up, and he tells of his forthcoming record that includes surprise guests such as rap legend DMC. "I have a CD coming out with the Uptown Horns on it, I have James Cotton, Brad Whitford from Aerosmith, Johnny Winter, and DMC from Run DMC," he says. "I'm looking forward to getting that out. I'm sure I'll tour it, and come out to Detroit to promote it. The name of the CD is From Detroit to the Delta. Everyone's familiar with the journey from the Delta to Detroit, but not the other way."
James Montgomery plays the Antifreeze Blues Festival Jan. 6 at the Magic Bag; 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-1991. See themagicbag.com.
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