Home > Interviews > Ryan Montbleau

 

 

Samples of Ryan's music:

Tuesday Morning

A Way With Women

You Crazy You

 

Thursday night at Perks in Norwood, MA.  Ryan Montbleau had just come off his latest 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 interviewing him.

 

Boston Beats: 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 influences?

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 now is 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, New 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 albums?

RM: If I think about it too long, Iíll drive myself nuts, so here it goes.  The Black Crows -Amorica.  Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, & Mike Marshall - Uncommon Ritual.  De La Soul - Stakes is High.  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.  Tom Bianchi 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, Dwight Ritcher.  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 style?

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 music town.

 

BB: Do you have any pre-show rituals?

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 sure 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 really tough. 

 

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 was 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 people want.

 

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 at

http://www.ryanmontbleau.com/

 

*Pictures courtesy of http://www.ryanmontbleau.com/

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