I’ve written a lot over the years about the Ryan Montbleau Band, and I think I’ve made it pretty apparent that I believe the band to be the best Boston-based musical outfits to come out of the scene in a long time. I try to make sure to catch the guys’ shows as much as I can (whenever they’re in the area, that is) because I had a feeling pretty early into my listening experience that chances to take in the sound would become fewer and farther between.

That said, I was greatly looking forward yesterday to being able to hear Ryan solo again. That’s how I first got hooked on the sound and the songs – a solo stint in Burlington  a few years ago, the day I returned from a whirlwind trip to Boston that left me wanting to do just about anything but take in a show.

The only reason I went was because I’d heard good buzz about the guy and I’d been digging the mp3s posted on his site.  As I walked into Nectar’s, however, I didn’t think that the music would become a staple, as demonstrated by what I wrote at the time:

ryan montbleau was a grand first new nectar’s experience – the sit-down, casual “hi, thanks for coming, pick up a cd, they have my name on them and all” style to the performance was a nice juxtaposition to the previous night’s casual-but-big performance. check him out before he gets big – he’s worth it.

It was a typical late night kind of show last night, but worth my bleary eyes and healthy coffee consumption today. New songs, newish songs and a chance to focus on the crazy blur of fingers required to race along guitar strings in order to deliver the notes. “Maybe Today” and “75 and Sunny” are competing for status as new favorite RM song (at the moment, the former has a narrow lead), and the warm and mellow vibe within the listening room space at Passim was a complete 180 from the head-bobbing, feet-dancing impulses that take over at a full band show (as made most apparent during “You Crazy You”). Matt and Larry did join for a few songs, which was nice, but for the most part, I was content to sit back in my seat and smile, singing along to most of the material with the voice inside my head.

I’ve seen a lot of musicians or acts rise and fall over the course of time, to the point that I want to selfishly keep some gems quiet. “If they don’t reach the mainstream, they won’t be ruined” is the general thought – and that it also means more shows I can attend is another bonus.

But considering how hard Ryan and the rest of the guys have been working over the years – and the fact that they seem to be handling the success they’ve experienced with humility and good humor – they are the exception to that admittedly horrible notion.

As long as they remember to come home from time to time.

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