Show Review – Ryan Montbleau Band, 9.30.10, Southgate House, Newport, KY

Ryan Montbleau
Ryan Montbleau

Written by Bill Whiting – [email protected]
Photos by Scott Preston

The Ryan Montbleau Band’s September 30 appearance at Newport, Kentucky’s fabled Southgate House had been anticipated for several months after Montbleau and co. wowed a packed 20th Century Theatre in Cincinnati, Ohio while backing up Martin Sexton. After an engaging set by Jason Spooner, touring behing his new release, Sea Monster, Massachusetts’ own Ryan Montbleau took the stage and jumped headfirst into material from his latest recording, Heavy On The Vine. Relying on the strength of versatlity within drummer James Cohen’s wide ranging percussive contributions, Montbleau sat perfectly still on a wooden stool, strumming out the notes of “Carry” from Heavy On The Vine. Matt Giannaros’ acoustic upright bass lines colored Montbleau’s striking composition, “Grain Of Sand” from his 2009 solo disc, Stages: Volume 2. Laurence Scudder’s deft touches on viola permeated the storybook atomsphere of “75 and Sunny,” and Montbleau’s stirring, soulful vibe fired up the hoedown influenced, twirling crowd on the Southgate House’s ballroom floor. Jason Cohen’s intricate keyboard work on Moog synthesizer adds a depth and drive to the Ryan Montbleau Band’s jazzy, roots oriented music. Whether they’re playing the old timey sing-a-long “Eggs” from 2007’s underrated gem, Patience On Friday or indulging the masses with Heavy On The Vine’s tightly wound rock workouts, the Ryan Montbleau Band’s sharp arrangements takes the listener on a limitless journey, replete with heightened crescendos of sound fully anchored in literary lyrical bliss. The one-two punch of Spooner and the Ryan Montbleau Band’s double bill has proved to be one of the 2010 Fall concert season’s top highlights.