Friday night at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, Ryan Montbleau got his band back together for an incredibly memorable night of music. Montbleau was joined by the group’s original core members (James & Jason Cohen, Laurence Scudder and Matt Giannaros) as well as Lyle Brewer on guitar and Yahuba on percussion.
These 7 guys spent countless hours together over the years…touring the country in a Sprinter van and recording Montbleau’s songs while an ever-growing fan base followed their every move. It was clear that a flood of memories were hitting Montbleau up on that stage, but he decided to skip the story telling and let the music speak for itself.
For one nearly 3-hour long set, RMB favorites came one after another, much to the sold out crowd’s delight. Stand out moments included “Stretch”, “Draw the Line”, “Honeymoon Eyes”, “Grain Of Sand”, “You Crazy You” > “I Can’t Wait” and an epic “Here Et. All” encore. Songs from the new album Growing Light were sprinkled in along with a few covers…the Talking Heads’ “Naive Melody” was clearly a crowd favorite.
The room was filled with a palpable energy as fans danced alongside many familiar faces, celebrating this tight unit of a band. As the crowd roared and the guys got together for one final bow, it sank in that this is truly the closing of a chapter in Montbleau’s career…and for the RMB family too.
It was a bittersweet evening, and a fitting farewell for a great group of musicians and fans.
Wow, sorry it’s been 2 weeks since my last post. Still thinking about Newport Folk Festival and all the great musical discoveries there were to witness… Gregory Alan Isakov’s music is right up my alley – beautiful folk tunes with thoughtfully crafted words.
The music scene on Martha’s Vineyard sure does slow down in the offseason, but we find ways to keep busy! Over the winter, I asked some local musicians to record a bit of music and conversation with me at Phil daRosa‘s Oak Bluffs studio – The Print Shop. I also reached out to some local photographers to come by and capture these in-studio interviews. We’re calling the recordings “TPS Sessions” and I hope you enjoy them!
It was a honor to have Jemima James join me in the studio to talk about her 40-year songwriting career and play a few tunes from her latest album, Nothing New. Scroll down a little further for clips from our conversation.
On Nothing New, Jemima has her sons Willy & Sam Mason playing bass and drums respectively. A slew of other island musicians joined in too, including Kate Taylor, Brad Tucker, Wes Nagy, Geordie Gude, Charlie Esposito, and Nina Violet.
Jemima tells me about her music roots:
A bit about the band she recorded her album with:
TONIGHT at Featherstone Center for the Arts, it’s the Jemima James Variety Show with MANY special guests performing outdoors from 6:30 – 8:30pm (kid and pet friendly!).
And be looking forward to a new release from Jemima in the near future…this fall she plans to record another album of some older songs she’s reworked and a few that are completely new.
Like so many other up-and-coming acts, the Ross Livermore Band believes a lot of their strength lies in their live performance. So they’ve decided to offer us a little taste of that experience each month, for an entire year. Every month, this Boston-based band has been offering a free download of a live recording and along with it, a polished music video. A treat for the ears and eyes!
Some of these singles are cover songs, done with a unique flavor that’s all their own. Others, like this one, are written by the band and really showcase their energetic, FUN vibe. Seems like “Work Song” is a pretty fitting track for this time of year, when we’re all getting swept away in another busy summer season…
This past weekend I had the honor of sitting front row center at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge for an incredible night of music and I’m still reeling from the experience. Many weeks worth of Monday night open mic winners went head to head in the Main Event! and myself and two other judges had the difficult task of slowly eliminating all but one winner.
That one winner was Seamus Galligan, a New Bedford-based musician whose voice and songwriting echo Nick Drake and Donovan yet somehow still sound all his own. Each song he did would silence the room, drawing us in and leaving us shaking our heads. Seamus doesn’t have music readily available online, but that’s something that will soon be remedied!
Meanwhile I’ll start by introducing you to the runner up – Mark Whitaker. Mark plays the banjo but not in a conventional way. I think even those who can’t stand the sound of the instrument would be impressed by his non-offensive, guitarlike banjo-playing. At the competition, his skill on the instrument was clear, and he also had a comfort on stage that seemed to put the audience at ease. Above all else, it was Mark’s songwriting that stood out. Each tune he played seemed to have the perfect amount of words with the perfect phrasing…the words themselves were simple and yet so heartfelt. For me, it seemed like each song would end at the perfect moment, leaving us all with a feeling of completion and a smile on our faces. Mark plays frequently in and around Boston, you can catch him at Club Passim on May 15th.