Who is Ryan Montbleau? And why are all his shows jam-packed with fans?
Well, his “The Egg Song” has become an underground, tongue-in-cheek classic. He plays both electric and acoustic guitar. He’s cute. He sings with his heart right up past his sleeve and into the mic. And he’s got the approval of no less a superstar than Dave Matthews.
If Dave likes Montbleau enough to join him on his national tour as an opening act, then he’s got to be good. Right?
Most importantly, Montbleau is a fun performer. He has a seductively innocent talk-sing vocal style that really brings you into the moment and keeps you listening and wanting more.
Not that Montbleau is imitating anybody. At Jillian’s in Albany for the CD release party for his brand new album, “Heavy on the Vine,” Montbleau and his band showcased a wide range of eclectic musical influences. His performance style stretched from roots-Americana to reggae with plenty of country, bluegrass and straight-up rock in between. On a song or two, he even served up a Broadway show-tune delivery, where you could understand every word.
With Dave Matthews and company taking a year off from touring in 2011, Montbleau just may be is the one to step up and fill in the performance gap. Who knows?
Jesse Dee opened the show with a blast of nostalgic soulfulness that was straight out of the ’60s soul bag of masters like Marvin Gaye, Wilson Pickett and the Temptations. You just don’t hear enough of that live anymore.
Even Montbleau and his five-piece backing outfit were impressed enough by Dee to invite him to sing with them on several songs during their show, including a delicious John Lennon classic that not only had everybody packed at the front of the stage and dancing, but singing along too!
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk