Monte Montgomery's guitar-playing is so distinctive, dexterous, and seemingly ingrained that it sounds like he might have had the instrument in his cradle. So it's surprising that he could have just as easily played the trumpet.
His first instruments were trumpet and piano, and he said he only took the guitar seriously "when I no longer had a piano or a trumpet at my disposal, and my Mom had an extra guitar. That's what I had. I often joke about, 'Mom, what would have happened if we hadn't lost that trumpet?' ... I think fate had other things in store for me."
He's similarly matter-of-fact about his decision to abandon electric guitar for an acoustic. "I could do a lot of things on acoustic I was relying on electric for," he said in a phone interview earlier this week. "So why not leave the extra guitar at home and the additional two heavy amps I was carrying around for my electric, and just play acoustic? It really was kind of just that simple."
The playing by Montgomery, who will be performing at the Redstone Room on November 17, is anything but simple. In 2004, Guitar Player magazine named him one of the 50 greatest guitar players of all time, and he's been called the acoustic Hendrix.