Montbleau’s been pouring his heart out in song since the early 2000’s, when he first began performing around his native Massachusetts. He’d go on to collaborate with Martin Sexton, Trombone Shorty, and Galactic among others, and share bills and stages with artists as diverse as Tedeschi Trucks Band, Ani DiFranco, The Wood Brothers, Rodrigo y Gabriela, and Mavis Staples, but it was Montbleau’s ecstatic headline shows—often more than 200 of them a year—that solidified his reputation as a live powerhouse and an inexorable road warrior. NPR’s Mountain Stage compared his “eloquent, soulful songwriting” to Bill Withers and James Taylor, while Relix hailed his “poetic Americana,” and The Boston Herald raved that “he’s made a career of confident, danceable positivity. (from Ryan Montbleau.com)
See more great videos from latest recording “Woodstock Sessions” on Ryan’s website.
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(Big) Al Anderson
Listed as one of the top 100 guitar players of the 20th century by Musician Magazine and with over 900 cuts internationally, Big Al’s music career was destined. Raised by his piano teacher mother and a radio that would get WWVA in Wheeling West Virginia late at night, he would devour all genres of music from Hank Williams, The Everly Brothers, The Ventures, Chet Atkins, Elvis, Little Richard, Ray Charles, Motown and Stax paving the way for what would be a giant life in music.
His first band “The Sixpacks” became “The Wildweeds,” recording a regional hit “No Good To Cry” that went on to chart nationally. With a change in record labels (from Chess to Vanguard) and a change in musical direction, Al caught the attention of the members of NRBQ. In 1971, Al left Connecticut for New York’s to enroll at the “University of Q” — a 22 year planetary course in all things musical. Al’s exposure to a evener wider range of musical genres served him well in the “Q.” His mind and string-bending guitar playing coupled with his giant stage presence had become legendary, and in the course of recording over a dozen albums with them, he had written some of the band’s most memorable songs — ‘Ridin in My Car’, ‘Never Take The Place of You,’ It Was An Accident,’ ‘Comes to Me Naturally,’ ‘What a Nice Way to Go,’ ‘Feel You around Me,’ and many more.
After over two decades of hard touring, hard living and encyclopedic musical knowledge, Al was ready to change his already prodigious song writing talent into a full-time venture.
Two years before he left NRBQ, he wrote a song with Carlene Carter, “Every Little Thing” that she took to top 5 all over the world. That song, and meeting music publisher Pat Daniel McMurry (Escott), were the turning points in Al’s career and life. With the support, guidance and belief that Pat provided, Al became unstoppable. At the same time that Al signed with Pat, he decided to quit drinking and suddenly became one of the most prolific writers in Nashville. “I went from 3 songs a year to writing sometimes 3 a day”.
The parade of hits is long and include singles and cuts by Vince Gill, Bonnie Raitt, Trisha Yearwood, Jimmy Buffett, Martina McBride, Patty Loveless, George Jones, Sheryl Crow, Leann Rimes, Tim McGraw, George Strait, Rascall Flatts, Zac Brown, Anthony Hamilton, Harry Connick Jr and many others.
He latest love is Music City’s premier rock band “The World Famous Headliners” rounded out with top tier penmen/artists/musicians extraordinaire Pat McLaughlin, Shawn Camp, Michael Rhodes and Greg MorrowPost Views: 1,467
Hailed by The New York Times as “an auteur” (Ben Ratliff), by Jazz Times as “A daring improviser who delivers with heart-wrenching lyricism” (Bill Milkowski). According to Downbeat Magazine “Charles delivers his ebullient improvisations with the elegance of a world-class ballet dancer.” (John Murph). He has received critical acclaim for his exciting performances, thrilling compositions and knack for connecting with audiences worldwide. In June 2012, Etienne was written into the US Congressional Record for his musical contributions to Trinidad & Tobago and the World. Perhaps more than any other musician of his generation or Eastern Caribbean origin, Etienne brings a careful study of myriad rhythms from the French, Spanish, English, and Dutch speaking Caribbean to the table. Crucially, as a soloist, he fully understands the New Orleans trumpet tradition; which is readily discernible in his trademark instrumental swagger, and what famed Crescent City Pianist, Jelly Roll Morton so succinctly captured in the now immortal phrase, ‘The Spanish Tinge’. He has performed and or recorded with Monty Alexander, Roberta Flack, Frank Foster, Ralph MacDonald, Johnny Mandel, Wynton Marsalis, Marcus Roberts, Maria Schneider, Count Basie Orchestra, Eric Reed, Lord Blakie, David Rudder, and many others. He holds a Master’s degree from the Juilliard School and a Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University. Etienne Charles has taught as an Assistant Professor of Jazz Trumpet at Michigan State University and the University of Miami.Post Views: 1,859
He may be one of the most lauded artists in the contemporary blues arena today, and rightfully so, but for Mike Zito, the thing that counts the most is maintaining his honesty, authenticity and integrity. Those are the qualities that have steered Zito’s career since the beginning and continue to define every effort he’s offered since.
“I have nothing to hide; it seems my honesty is what people relate to most,” he once told Vintage Guitar magazine. “Anders (Osborne) told me early on, ‘If you don’t believe what you’re singing, you’ll never be a good singer.’ I try not to write fluff; I try to make every word count.”
That point became convincingly clear with his last record 2018’s First Class Life, a collection of songs that detailed his journey from addiction to sobriety and the subsequent success he achieved through his award-winning body of work. A multiple award winner and nominee, Zito has built his career on an ability to tap into tradition while maintaining contemporary credence all at the same time.Post Views: 2,451