LACONIA — The Laconia Putnam Fund will present its 3rd Annual Blues Friday at the Laconia High School Auditorium tonight at 7 p.m. Johnny A., Boston Music Award's Blues Artist of the Year, will be performing along with James Montgomery, who has toured with many major artists, including Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, the Allman Brothers and Steve Miller.
Admission to the concert is free with first come, first seated.
For the better part of three decades, the Massachusetts-based guitarist and bandleader Johnny A. has proven himself capable of generating heat at venues from working-class bars to international amphitheaters — and every sort of venue in between. And when the house lights are turned up, he's just as adept at captivating serious students of the six-string with a virtuosity that earned him the rare honor of having his name placed on a signature Gibson guitar.
"I want to create instrumental music and deliver it like a vocalist," he says "You can be a great player, on any instrument, and people will take notice for a while ... but what people really remember is someone who brings them a great melody."
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 30 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.
In 1970, while attending Boston University, Montgomery formed the James Montgomery Band. His inimitable (oh yeah, he majored in English) harmonica playing combined with his incredibly energetic live shows led to the band's quick ascension on the New England music scene. Within two years, the James Montgomery band was among the hottest acts in Boston, along with J. Geils and Aerosmith, and they were quickly signed to a multi-album deal with Capricorn Records.
Since that time, James has recorded six albums. His first, "First Time Out" has been remastered and re-released by MRG/Capricorn. Other include "James Montgomery Band" on Island Records which was number nine on Billboard's national playlist, "Duck Fever" with members of the David Letterman Band, "Live Trax," with the Uptown Horns (the Rolling Stones' horn section), and his release on Tone-Cool, "The Oven Is On."
The audiences have all been pleased. The highlight in the US, a packed house at Chicago's House of Blues attended by Johnny's old buddy Pinetop Perkins. Look for James and Johnny to go to the House of Blues in LA in January as part of a West Coast tour, and to Istanbul, Turkey in the summer as part of a European tour that ends in Norway.
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