:: Ryan Montbleau Band :: Southern Sun Pub & Brewery :: July 2 :: :: Quixote’s True Blue :: July 10 ::
By Lisa Oshlo
Ryan Montbleau is the kind of talent that doesn’t come around too often, and his insightful lyrics and dynamic guitar style make the kind of impression that one will not soon forget.
From playing bar gigs and coffeehouses in his native Boston just a few years ago, Montbleau and his band have spread his gospel and grown his fan base grassroots-style, without the benefit of a slick marketing campaign or major label support. Touring relentlessly for the past few years, the Ryan Montbleau Band has begun generating the kind of buzz that only surrounds a talented artist on the verge.
The Marquee recently talked with Montbleau about his early musical years, the growth of his band, and taking the show on the road.
Given an electric guitar at the age of nine, Montbleau didn’t come to appreciate the instrument until he picked up an acoustic in college. Now, he never seems as at home as he does with a guitar in front of a microphone. “To this day,” he said, “when I walk into someone’s house and there’s a guitar sitting there, it just makes me feel better.”
Montbleau originally formed a band called Palabra with drummer James Cohen, which was “really just the beginning of what we’re doing now,” he said. The line-up has shifted somewhat over the years (including two years that Montbleau played solo gigs) and has come to include Matt Giannaros on acoustic and upright bass, Laurence Scudder on viola, and Jason Cohen on piano, organ and clarinet, in addition to Cohen and Montbleau. “I love all these guys, and when we’re on the road I want to punch them in the face everyday,” Montbleau said. “But that’s family! It’s all love. I learn from them every day.”
Something of a Martin Sexton by way of Van Morrison and Stevie Wonder, Montbleau’s music is difficult to define. His percussive finger-picking guitar style combines with his soulful voice and inspired lyrical content to create a sound that is both classic and contemporary — both unleashed and refined.
The band’s first album, One Fine Color, was released on Valentine’s Day, 2006. It is an impressive debut that shows a cohesive vision rarely seen among young artists today. Full of deft lyrics, the album has sold well both at home and abroad. It has gotten the attention of the music industry, which widely regards him as one of the top artists to come out of the Northeast in recent years. Montbleau was recently nominated for the 19th Annual Boston Music Awards in the Outstanding Male Singer/Songwriter category.
But Montbleau pays little attention to the industry hype, preferring instead to focus on his craft and win the hearts of new fans one gig at a time. He is looking forward to returning to Colorado, a stop that proved a challenge on the last tour.
“I went to Colorado for the first time five years ago as merch guy/opener for Mountain of Venus. I was so blown away by the beauty of everything and just the friendly scene. I thought, ‘Man, I’m gonna be huge here!’ So I booked myself a tour the next summer and went out there again. This time, I couldn’t get into the better venues that [Mountain of Venus] were getting into. So I played a seafood restaurant in the suburbs of Denver in a mall parking lot. And my van broke down a few times and I got stranded for a bit with no gigs. Then I got appendicitis,” he laughed.
But those trials and tribulations are behind him now, he hopes. The Ryan Montbleau Band is now at work recording their second album in Woodstock, N.Y., preparing for its release in October. “I still really believe we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what we can do musically,” said Montbleau. “Much work to do. But I don’t have an appendix to worry about anymore, so here I come, Colorado! Get ready.”
:: Ryan Montbleau Band ::
:: Southern Sun Pub & Brewery :: July 2 ::
:: Quixote’s True Blue :: July 10 ::
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