Saturday, September 6, 2014

Spotlight On Ryan Montbleau

 This blog is called 'I love that song' and there are very few of Ryan's that I don't say that about. I play his music often, and if you've spent any time with me you've undoubtedly heard it. In my opinion (and it's my blog, so mine is the only one that matters) as a singer/songwriter Ryan is in the class of the elites. Paul Simon, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder. But Ryan Montbleau is truly at his best in front of an audience. A Ryan Montbleau Band show isn't just a concert, it's an experience. Ryan clearly gets energy from playing in front of an audience, and he in turn shares that energy. In the end everyone wins. The band constantly hones and reinvents their songs, keeping them familar, yet fresh and new at the same time. They've been known to cover artists across various eras an genres from The Allman Brothers to Ween to Harry Belefonte. And we all know how I feel about covers. I've had the pleasure of seeing the Ryan Montbleau Band three times, and I haven't been disappointed yet. Then there are the fans. Once while having casual conversation with a middle aged professional and his wife, my wife got hit on by a very attractive blonde woman. At a different show, some girls came up to me and my buddies and asked if we liked to have our eyeballs licked during intercourse (seriously). Not to mention the glow sticks and hula hoops. LOTS of fans take his recording of 'Sweet Nice 'n High' literally, and are happy to put it into action. When it comes to having a good time, us Montbleau fans don't mess around. I wasn't at Woodstock, but I'm guessing it was kind of like this. My only complaint is that I wish they'd take the stage before midnight.. (This happens when you get closer to 40). Without further ado, on to the review!

Heather and I started making our 'Bucket List' this week. You know, things we want to do before we die. With my current condition(s) we have discussions like that often. We've always wanted to go to Bora Bora and swim in the ocean. Personally, I've always wanted to see the Seven Wonders of the World. But at the top of that list, at least for me; is to see the Ryan Montbleau Band play at Gathering Of The Vibes. Gathering of the Vibes is a music festival in Bridgeport, CT where they literally erect stages on the beach. What better way to spend a weekend than on the beach listening to kickass music with an ocean breeze in your face? The first Ryan Montbleau Band song I heard was the one below. I was in York, PA laying on my friend's parents' sofa at midnight watching YouTube videos because I couldn't sleep. eMusic had recommended Ryan's album 'One Fine Color' in the past, and I never listened to it, but now YouTube was recommending them again, so I figured there must be something to it.

Ryan Montbleau Band
Here Et Al
Gathering Of The Vibes 2010

I loved 'Here et al.' the first time I heard it. And the second. And the third. As I recall I played it three or four times. Just to make sure it wasn't a fluke, I searched for another song. I  liked Maroon 5 the first time I'd heard them too, and I wasn't going to make that mistake again. I listened to the rest of the album on eMusic and it was great. Every song. The from introspective 'Chariot (I know) to the reggae infused Songbird, not a bad track among them. I decided the first chance I got I was going to see these guys in concert, and right then and there decided to look up their concert schedule. In a bit of Alanis-like irony, while I was discovering Ryan's band in on a couch in York, PA,  they were playing a show in my home town of Rochester, NY. That very night, that very moment. I just happened to be 300 miles away. In the next few weeks, I started looking for every bit of Ryan Montbleau music I could find, which brought me to...

Ryan Montbleau Band
Electric Avenue
Gathering Of The Vibes - 2008

Some of you fellow childen of the 1980's might remember this one. If not, let me refresh your memory. It too is a reggae song, by one (pop) hit wonder Eddie Grant. I always liked the original, but I never listen to it anymore, and was impressed with my new favorite band's rendition. It's not as much reggae as much rock, and the wah-wah guitar Ryan plays in out of this world. One more fantastic performance. Sadly, the Ryan Montbleau Band wrapped up their final tour in Boston last December so chances are I won't get to see them play at Vibes. But all is not lost. Ryan still tours, and still surrounds himself with top notch musicians.

This year at vibes Ryan's set was titled "Ryan Montbleau & Friends" It was as good as ever, and you can listen to courtesy of the Live Music Archive. The Archive is a completely free, completely legal website where music lovers post (you guessed it) live music from artists who allow taping of their shows.
Ryan also regularly recorded his concerts and sold them after at his merchandise table with the t-shirts and CD's. If you go to the store on his website, you can purchase concerts spanning almost a decades worth of touring. The 'Bleauleg' shows are a good place to start, as well as the final shows at the Paradise Rock Club. The shows can be downloaded for free, or you can make a donation, which I encourage you to do. Ryan spends a large majority of time on the road, and doesn't get some of the superstar tour bus perks that your Katy Perry's and Lady Gagas get. Which is a shame, considering he's so talented, and they're so not. Anyways if you enjoy his music, show him by supporting him.

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