A Way With Women
You Crazy You
night at Perks in Norwood, MA. Ryan Montbleau had just come off his
cross-country trip, playing in such cities as L.A., Denver and
Philadelphia. He seemed a bit road weary as he noted that as
recently as that morning he was in Buffalo. But Ryan is a true
performer, and he made it to his show at Perks, much to the delight of
everyone in attendance.
At the show, Ryan had everyone gripped
with his wonderful range of voice and his soulful guitar playing. He
managed to keep the crowd through two ten-song sets in which he played two
covers (Stevie Wonderís Yester-You Yester-Me Yesterday and Loviní
Spoonfulís Daydream). But the real treat was listening to his original
music. Ryan possesses a rare trinity of talents: the ability to
write intelligent songs, play wonderfully hypnotic guitar and close the deal
with his velvet voice.
After his show, we had the privilege of
What do you think of the Boston music scene?
Ryan Montbleau: Thereíre plenty of gigs
around, but itís kind of tough getting a scene going. Iím not sure why
that is. Whether thereíre so many bands or that there are so many
nook-and-cranny places to play. Whatever it is, itís tough to put your
finger on it.
BB: Who are some of your musical
RM: This is weird, I feel like I should
go back to when I was little and back then it was R&B stuff. One right
Martin Sexton and I really didnít discover him until I started
doing this whole solo thing. I can just remember thinking that this is
the guy I want to be. Going back to when I was younger though,
Edition for their R&B.
Stevie Wonder because he has just amazing songs.
Stevie Ray Vaughn was big for me when I started to really get into playing
the guitar. Itís tough to name them all in the broad scheme of things,
but at the moment
Deb Talan is just amazing for me.
BB: What are some of your favorite
RM: If I think about it too long, Iíll
drive myself nuts, so here it goes.
The Black Crows -Amorica.
Meyer, Bela Fleck, & Mike Marshall - Uncommon Ritual. De La Soul - Stakes
Martin Sexton - Black Sheep.
Medeski, Martin, & Wood - It's a
Jungle in Here.
BB: What are some of your favorite
places to play in Boston?
RM: Well, The
House of Blues was numero
uno on that list; I loved it.
Club Passim is cool,
although Iíve really
only played it once.
The Paradise and
Harpers Ferry are cool. I feel
like there are places Iím forgetting, but playing out in Harvard Square is
fun. Now that I think of it, Lizardís Lounge.
BB: What are some of the top Boston
acts youíve seen?
RM: Deb Talan, she blows me away. Iím
actually getting a chance to do a show with her in September.
who does a solo bass and also hosts some open mics. Itís hard to think of
them all, especially with so many new ones around. There are bands that I
catch a buzz about too that I donít even get to see. Oh,
I actually get to play with him next week; heís awesome.
Kabir, heís a
Hip Hop guy and a friend of mine. Oh, and
Mr. Lif is in that mix as well.
BB: How would you describe your
RM: Blues/Bass/Acoustic/Soul; does that
work? Or maybe just Acoustic/Soul.
BB: How is the music scene in the
other cities youíve played?
RM: Iíve seen some cool stuff. I went
out to Denver last year and loved it. I love playing Chicago.
Unfortunately itís tough to tell unless youíre in the scene as far as
making a living there. It seemed a little easier to get a crowd though.
San Francisco and New York are great. Austin is just an unbelievable
BB: Do you have any pre-show
RM: No, I really donít. Iím just
picky about my stool. I have to try it out and make sure itís not
wobbly. After a show I clean my guitar.
BB: Since weíre talking about your
guitar, what kind of equipment do you use?
RM: I have a fairly new Martin guitar
and my Alvarez that Iíve beat on for years. Going from the Alvarez to the
Martin was kind of like getting a high maintenance girlfriend. The old
guitar was the nice and easy, comfortable thing, but now I have to make
Iím keeping the new one in the right temperature and treating it right.
The rewards are, it plays better, it looks better and it sounds betterÖ I
just have to keep it happy. Thatís probably a pretty horrible reference,
but itís pretty much true.
BB: What were some of the things that
helped you get to where you are today in the music scene?
RM: Getting gigs, just getting out
there and playing in front of people. You have to really take whatever
comes your way. I mean, there is a difference between a show and a gig,
but as shitty as a gig may be, you have to take it. For me right now, Iím
fairly well connected and get steady work, but for a newcomer, it can be
BB: Having said that, what words of
wisdom would you pass on to new musicians?
RM: It really helped me to work at The
House of Blues and just see the bands upon bands that were coming in
there. Before that, I knew about bands in the arena setting, but not about
anybody else. I hadnít realized that there were so many bands that just
played 100 to 200 seat rooms, every single night, all across the country
and they do well. To see that level really just blew my mind and to see
what they go through and what they do. Another big step for me was doing
open mics. I got a booking agent and one of the first things he said
to get out and play open mic nights. It was huge, I met people who wanted
to help me out with making my CD and I met people that turned me on to
other gigs. I played with some of the people too that I had met at open
mics. You just have to keep playing. I took gigs at Starbucks, I took
gigs at TGI Fridays, Iíve played on the street, I even took a gig for an
awkward, awkward, party where there were only four people sitting in the
room. You just end up grinding through the tough gigs and learning what
BB: Whatís your ultimate goal?
RM: I want to be able to go to just
about any city and fill up a room there with people who want to hear me
play. Thatís it. Iím working on it. Bostonís going well, itís just the
rest of the country I have to get.
BB: You played some covers in
tonightís show. Is that by design?
RM: Yeah, I use to try and play my own
stuff only, but you really canít get away with that. I mean you can, but
I donít want to go into a room where no one has ever heard me and play
only my music.
BB: Thanks Ryan, youíve been great.
RM: No problem man. Have a good night.
To learn more about Ryan
Montbleau, visit his website
*Pictures courtesy of