About The Artist
Monty (Monte) Blake was the stage name for John Monto, Sr., one of two accordion players who earned legendary status at the WWVA Jamboree (the other being Marion Martin). An Italian-American born in McKee's Rocks, Pennsylvania, he came to the Jamboree after military service in World War II.
Over the years, Monty performed solo, was long part of the staff band, and on both daytime shows and Saturday nights. After his work as a regular performer, Blake served as stage manager for decades and almost always played at the annual Jamboree reunions.
All of this earned him a place in the unveiling of the Jamboree "Walkway of Stars" in 1983.
After WWVA phased out their daytime country music programming in the mid-1950's, Blake toured with various artist groupings that needed an accordion player, returning to Wheeling for the big Saturday night show.
In between times, he worked as a salesman for the local television station WTRF-TV. He seemingly never made any recordings under his own name, but provided backup support for some artists who did.
He died at age 85.
Credits & Sources
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