Ryan Montbleau @ The Stone Church w/ Jason Scaggs
Ryan Montbleau has been an acclaimed singer, songwriter, and bandleader for more than a decade, but with his new album I WAS JUST LEAVING, the New England-based artist has truly arrived. Contemplative and richly emotive, the album offers a glimpse into the often-lonesome life of the relentlessly traveling troubadour, a strikingly single-minded existence too often clouded by the blur of constant motion. Recorded at New Orleans Esplanade Studios over four days in January 2016 with producer Anders Osborne and engineer/mixer Mark Howard (known for his work with such icons as Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Neil Young, and U2), the album marks Montbleaus first full length release in the wake of a series of seismic personal shifts. Songs like Bright Side and the touching title track reveal a uniquely blessed artist who has truly found his voice, his gift for melody and a remarkably open-armed approach.
Theres no part of this record that I am unsure of, Montbleau says. All the juice of the last fifteen years is in there. My humanity and my heart are on this record.
Montbleau has been among Americas finest songwriters and performers, earning national attention and a fervent fan following with songs like 75 and Sunny and his breakthrough cover of Tracy Chapmans Fast Car, the latter a Spotify smash with total streams now in excess of 14 million.
After twelve years on the road Montbleau found himself at a crossroads in 2016. Within a very short time, my world got flipped around. My partner was gone, my band of ten years was gone, my friends were all far away. The one thing I had was a career, because it turns out that was all I had worked on. When the dust settled, I realized I didnt really have much of a home life.
I thought all along that I had been building a home but it turned out I was just leaving. Thats where the title of the song and the record came from. So many raw feelings were just aching through me at that point. Eventually they vibrated out through the guitar, through singing. I had to sing these songs.
An artists artist, Montbleau has collaborated with such diverse performers as Martin Sexton, Trombone Shorty, and Galactic. His association with Anders Osborne extends back to 2012 when the New Orleans-based singer/songwriter/guitarist played on Ryans Ben Ellman-produced FOR HIGHER alongside such fellow Big Easy icons as Ivan Neville and The Meters George Porter, Jr. Two years later, Anders and Ryan reconnected on the road backstage at a festival. The seeds were planted for a collaboration.
Montbleaus guitar playing and vocals are both front and center on I WAS JUST LEAVING, with Osborne accompanying on drums, percussion, bass, guitar, and harmonica, each used simply and sparsely for maximum effect. Osborne and Howard built upon that same goal, creating space and capturing rawness by utilizing as many early takes as possible.
Bright Side, the albums first single, is perhaps the song most emblematic of Montbleaus growth as both a human being and artist. At once finely etched and strikingly direct, Bright Side is an ideal distillation of his approach to songwriting, balancing multiple shades of emotional nuance with a fearless, unfettered sentimentality that ultimately leads to a greater truth.
I WAS JUST LEAVING marks a singular milestone for Ryan Montbleau, the moment in which this exceptional singer, songwriter, and performer has blossomed into a fully matured artist.
Ive been planting these seeds for so long and it has all led up to this moment. It feels like finally the fruits of all my efforts are coming out. Im still working hard but theres an ease to whats happening. I have a career that Ive built, that Ive earned. Now whats fun is putting out the best music I can and seeing what happens.
The Stone Church (View)
210 Main st
Brattleboro, VT 05301
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: No|