Ryan Montbleau at the Knickerbocker, Feb 9

Ryan Montbleau

Ryan Montbleau

Peabody, MA, singer-songwriter Ryan Montbleau has a knack for leaving a lasting impression through melody. The way his lyrics bounce off the chords and strums is astounding and guarantees a wonderful listening experience. His stellar talent has catapulted him to the upper echelon of New England musical acts, and it looks like he’ll be staying there for the time being. He also has achieved a dedicated following over the years with loyal fans coming out to see him perform wherever he goes. On Feb 9, Montbleau will be making his presence felt at the Knickerbocker Café in Westerly.

We had a chat ahead of the show about planning gigs, a new duo that he’s a part of, who he’d like to share the stage with someday and what the future holds.

Rob Duguay (Motif): As a full-time musician, what do you find to be the most challenging and the most gratifying when it comes to thriving as an artist?

Ryan Montbleau: I find it challenging to constantly plan out my life three or four months in advance. I spent so many years trying to get gigs that it’s sort of ingrained in me to take them. It’s a blessing to get opportunities but I get into trouble if I take on too much. Finding a balance of a home life and creative time along with all the gigging and touring is a constant challenge. Beyond that, having a broader vision of where I want to go can be difficult when I’m in the trenches too much of the time.

You tend to get opportunities based on what you’ve done in the past. It takes strong will to bend that towards where you want to go. Thriving as an artist in and of itself is gratifying, through, feeling like you’re getting better at your craft and doing the work. I also get a boost when people tell me how the music has affected them. You’d like to think that as an artist you don’t need that, but it really helps me to keep going. Knowing and hearing that you’re affecting someone with what you do is more important than any numbers or all the other crap.

RD: Recently you and fellow Massachusetts musician Hayley Jane (who opens the Feb 9 Knickerbocker show) started a duo titled Yes Darling. What are the dynamics that you and Hayley have artistically that’s different than other musicians you’ve collaborated with?

RM: Hayley and I really clicked as writers right off the bat. I’ve had some successful co-writing sessions before, but this was just very quickly and clearly a project on another level than I had experienced before. Plus, she’s a great harmonizer and we sing beautifully together. To me, the writing is really where it’s at. We can take our own experiences together, draw on past experiences, add in some general themes about men and women and it all seems to click together. We fight in the songs, we fight in real life, we love, we make up, it all finds its way into the music and the dynamic can be exaggerated, but at the end of the day it’s real.

RD: During your career you’ve gotten to share the stage with the likes of Ani DiFranco and Rodrigo y Gabriela. Is there any musician currently alive that you’d love to open for? What kind of effect have they had on you as a musician?

RM: I’d love to open some shows for the Wood Brothers. I sat in with them once, and they are so gracious and so profoundly great at what they do. I think they set the bar these days for writing songs that are both powerful and simple. It’s the hardest thing to do. I also got to open for Tedeschi Trucks Band before and their soundcheck made me cry, so that would be fun again.

RD: After your upcoming show in Westerly, what does the rest of the year have in store for you?

RM: The Yes Darling album is getting released officially on Feb 14, and we’re already getting a lot of offers and buzz about that project. We’re sort of waiting to see how that blossoms and I think we’ll plan the year accordingly. I’m running a few songwriter retreats in June up in Vermont, where I now live, and I will be continuing with my own band and solo shows. I have a great group of players around me and I’d like to dig in with them, see where the music can take us.

Tickets: knickmusic.com/events/2018/2/9/ryan-montbleau

Web site: ryanmontbleau.com

Facebook: facebook.com/Montbleau Event: facebook.com/events/1643039932415514

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