Songs for RYAN MONTBLEAU typically need to simmer. In his 10-year career this gifted singer and his limber band have built their catalog the old-fashioned way, by introducing new songs to their live set, then bending and shaping them over dozens of performances before committing a definitive version to the hard drive. He joined us for our 5GB series before their upcoming show.
What’s the first gig you ever attended?
My father took us to see Chicago play in Florida in the mid 80’s. They had just released Chicago 17 and we listened to the cassette tape in the rental car. A comedian opened the show and I remember that he threw out packs of Life Savers to the crowd, which was exciting for an eight year old. Also my father used to sing and play bass and I have vague recollections of watching him play outside for a 4th of July show.
What is the best gig that you ever played/performed?
This past summer I was invited to sing at a tribute to Curtis Mayfield at Lincoln Center. The show was titled “Here But I’m Gone,” which incidentally was the song that I sang that night. I came out in a new suit in front of a 14-piece house band led by Binky Griptite of the Dap Kings and sang my heart out. Also Mavis Staples was there, Sinead O’Connor, The Roots, the original Impressions, Aloe Blacc, all kinds of amazing people. I danced a little do-si-do with Sinead during the encore while Questlove played drums behind all of us. That was a good night! On Twitter someone remarked “Ryan Montbleau may look like an insurance salesman, but damn that kid can sing.” So much for my new suit.
What is the best gig you have ever seen?
Tough one. Paul McCartney comes to mind. I mean, how can you go wrong? Also every time I see Mike Dillon play I think it’s the best gig I’ve ever seen.
What is the gig you would most like to play?
The great gig in the sky? No, I don’t know. Red Rocks? That and the old Great Woods up in Massachusetts where I’m from.
What would be the lineup for your dream gig?
Honestly, I know it sounds corny but I would take my band, the guys I already have now. We’ve been together for the better part of a decade and have much more music to make together. That being said, if I had to put together some kind of fantasy lineup for the purpose of this question: Edgar Meyer on bass, Adam Deitch on drums, Mike Dillon on vibes, Derek Trucks on guitar and John Medeski on keys. And maybe I don’t even play, I just get to sit and listen to those guys. That would be amazing.
Catch Ryan Montbleau Band Thursday, Jan. 10th at Eddie’s Attic