Summer Stars: Ryan Montbleau
Photo by Ryan Laurey
It’s not surprising that Ryan Montbleau felt a little out of his element when he made his new album, For Higher. The native New Englander ventured to New Orleans to record—under Galactic’s Ben Ellman’s helmsmanship—with local heavy weights guitarist Anders Osborne, drummer Simon Lott, keyboardist Ivan Neville and bassist George Porter Jr. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little nervous going in,” Montbleau admits. “But, man—every single guy was so warm and welcoming to the material and me.” For Higher marks a big leap for Montbleau’s music. “It’s definitely a funkier record, front to back, than my previous albums,” he shares. “You won’t find any folk, Americana or reggae tunes.”
The record, which mixes originals with soul nuggets like Eddie Hinton’s “Yeah Man” and Bill Withers’ “Heartbreak Road,” was an especially liberating experience. “It allowed me to go in there as more of a singer than a singer/songwriter,” he says, adding that the project “made me more confident overall as a singer and a writer.” This New Orleans adventure also has left Montbleau reinvigorated for work with his band, as he states, “the guys are all psyched on the new material.”
This summer, they’ll be playing mainly around the Northeast, appearing at festivals like Gathering of the Vibes with sets featuring old favorites, For Higher tracks and new material, too. Montbleau is already planning to start work on the next band album, which he wants to be the “best we have ever done.”
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This one time at a festival: Our percussionist Yahuba witnessed Donna Jean Godchaux semi-freaking out at the state of the backstage porta-potties. Bobby Weir was there, too. She was all, “Oh, my God!” in shock and disgust. For some reason, I love that story. But I gotta love Donna—I’m not a Donna-hater.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
Ron Sexsmith visits the Relix office to perform a tune from his latest record Forever Endeavor.
Crystal Bowersox stops by Relix to perform a song from her new album, All That For This.
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