Monte Montgomery is one of today’s best guitarists, wringing sounds from an
aged acoustic that often defy comprehension. His is a magic best viewed
near the stage — and I would recommend that anyone who has the opportunity
to see him live should do so. Immediately.
Unfortunately, I can’t recommend that those same people should drop $16 on
“Wishing Well” is Monte’s third major outing (the others being “First and
Repair” and “Mirror”). While the first two albums focused on Monte’s ability
to finesse the fretboard, “Wishing Well” has — more often than not —
relegated this skill to the backburner, focusing instead on
radio-friendliness and heavier (excessive?) production (with Monte at the
The end result isn’t nearly as strong as his other work.
The solid lyrics and turns of phrases are still in place, especially in the
seemingly autobiographical title track. However, the carefully-balanced
pop-rock-blues sensibility of albums past has given way to sterility,
resulting in an album of 70s- and 80s-influenced background music (imagine
Donald Fagan’s “New Frontier” meets Harold Faltermeyer’s “Top Gun Anthem,”
and not getting it quite right).
Gone is the bulk of the blistering licks. Gone is the energy and soul.
Gone is my $16 (about half of which I’d like back).
Standout tracks include “Wishing Well,” “Soldier at his Best,” and the solo
guitar fade out on “All on Me.” I would recommend you purchase “First and
Repair” or “Mirror” for a better sample of Monte’s music — or check the net
for live material (a live album is also upcoming I hear).