The deal was all lined up. Ryan Montbleau and his band mates were just one confirmation away from inking a deal with an independent label that would have propelled the band out of debt and into, at least temporary, financial security. However, the next time the label made contact, the news was not good. The financing for the deal fell apart, the label passed and Montbleau and co. were left in the red.
Disappointed as the band may have been, you won’t catch them dwelling on the let down. To do so would ignore the momentum that’s been trailing the Cambridge, Mass.-based band from one live performance to another.
“I don’t want to take any shortcuts,” says Montbleau, the frontman and songwriter for a group that also includes Matt Gianarros, Laurence Scudder and brothers James and Jason Cohen. “We’re going to take it as it comes.”
It’s a mantra that Montbleau has followed his whole career, which started during his time at Villanova and continued as a solo act in the Boston area while he worked part time as a substitute teacher. With a bag full of bluesy riffs, a silky, soulful voice and lyrics of love lost, realized and unrequited, Montbleau began to recruit a number of local followers to his flag before joining up with the other four members to form the Ryan Montbleau Band. Routinely touring a circuit that ranges from New England to Chicago to Georgia — they're currently on tour with Martin Sexton — the band has garnered a growing fan base that’s left those familiar with them filing in by the hundreds to listen.
“We’re still broke, but we’re growing everywhere,” Montbleau says.
More success might not be too far off, what with the release of new album, Patience of Friday, just around the corner, October 9. The latest effort, a follow-up to 2006's One Fine Color, blows up the band’s sound from a pop-funk fusion to a full-on “N’awlins” bar romp, that makes Montbleau’s Jamiroqui-style cadence just as alluring — and apropos — as his soulful tones.
The Boston bard has always been concerned about generating the best possible sound from his group and himself, which is part of the reason he still sits on a stool during his live sets, a habit he’s had since his solo days.
“I’m trying to open up a little, but I still have my little throne,” Montbleau says. “I’ve been walking around a little more though, trying to mix with the electric band more … and my body starts to hurt from staying in the same position for so long.”
Even though he’s still smarting in the wallet, Montbleau doesn’t plan to alter his approach. He and the band will ride on the momentum of the new album, touring through the fall and taking their act national next year. In the more immediate future, Ryan Montbleau Band stops into Jammin’ Java next Thursday, Oct. 4. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Showtime is 8 p.m.
• For more information on Ryan Montbleau Band, visit www.ryanmontbleauband.com.