Tony Montana, has reissued his debut solo record from the year 2000. No not the pile of blow snorting gangster in Scarface, the other one, the one who played bass in Great White and is now a guitarist in Jack Russell’s Great White, that Tony Montana. Not a household name, you say? Well, maybe not, but listen to this record and his might just be a name that is echoed in the halls of your household. Tombstone Shuffle, available now from Cleopatra Records, is a 12 song collection of ideas that presumably had been in Montana’s head for a while when they were put down on tape, or a hard-drive.
The title track sounds like something you might hear if you stumbled across a honky-tonk bar in a Louisiana bayou, with its appropriately fitting shuffling back-beat, the slide guitar and gritty vocals that concurrently pulsate in your ear drums. Setting the tone for the rest of the record, Tombstone Shuffle is a nostalgic turning back of the clock to a time long before the record was released. Much of the record has a similar sound that is reminiscent of some of the edgier bands that broke out in the last few years of the 1980’s. Little Queen is a good old-fashioned three and a half minute rocker with an infectious chorus that sucks the listener right in.
Upon arrival at track three, the listener is met with a drum intro that elicits thoughts of Montrose’s Rock Candy. 26 seconds into On My Heels the first guitar riff appears and this one goes on to pound its way into the inner recesses of your mind. Premonition-Rock It Man is another Delta Bluesy tune that begins with an acoustic slide guitar and slowly builds into a southern rocker. This song is accentuated with great slide guitar work and a tasteful use of the talk-box in the solo.
If you thought, wait, this guy made his mark as a bass player, and something might be afoot, you may be surprised that one of the most remarkable characteristics of the record is Montana’s exceptional vocal performance. The lyrical delivery on the entire record is strong and his voice has the right amount of roughness to go along with the melodies of the songs. If you want an example of Montana’s pipes, look no further than the second to last track. Netherworld is a melancholy love song, and you’d think this was sung by the front man of a seasoned rock act.
If you have a penchant for those last few years of the Me Decade, when power ballads and guitars still reigned, give this record a listen. There are numerous moments contained within that will transport you back in time to this by-gone era. Admittedly, even in the year 2000, these might have sounded a bit out of place, and maybe even more so now. But that may not be such a bad thing. With the resurgence of roots rock and younger people finding the classics, it might be just the right time to do the Tombstone Shuffle.