FREE - Ryan Montbleau Band - 4th Annual Hudson Square Music & Wine Festival

5:30pm Start

FREE - Ryan Montbleau Band - 4th Annual Hudson Square Music & Wine Festival

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Tuesday Evenings at 5:30pm (6/26 through 8/28) FREE ADMISSION, NO NEED TO BUY TICKETS!

Every Tuesday from June 26th to August 28th, Trinity Real Estate, Great Performances and City Winery will host a free neighborhood celebration of music, food, and wine. With its downtown location just west of Soho, the Hudson Square Music & Wine Festival is a uniquely urban summer festival for everyone from families and visitors to the after-work crowd. The FREE series of concerts will be held in the backyard of City Winery and features an eclectic mix of musicians, food vendors, artists and full bar service.

All concerts for the Hudson Square Music and Wine Festival are held in the space behind City Winery at 155 Varick Street btw Vandam and Spring Street.

Entry to the festival is from Spring Street, between Varick and Hudson, or from Vandam between Varick and Hudson.

Subway: Take the 1 Train to Houston. A,C,E to Spring Street.

212-608-0555 for additional info

MUSIC THIS WEEK: RYAN MONTBLEAU BAND

Feel-good retro funk from a pure soul singer

 Check out the weekly music lineup and festival details.

ABOUT THE RYAN MONTBLEAU BAND

"Time hangs heavy on the vine/Let’s make wine," Ryan Montbleau sings in the lulling, sensual verse that gives his group's new album its title. Ryan Montbleau Band has been tending its own musical vineyard for a few years, on the patient cusp of a breakthrough. Their distinctive, long-fermenting blend of neo-folk, classic soul, and kick-out-the-jams Americana finally comes to full fruition in Heavy on the Vine. It's an album that represents the product of — and further promise of — a very good year.

Don't worry if the classic sounds they've bottled up remain a little hard to put a label on. "I'm not one of these people who say 'Oh, we can't be pigeonholed.' I honestly wish we could, just so I could describe it quickly to people," says Montbleau. "This record has folk songs, funk songs, country tunes, a reggae tune . . . and the end is almost like prog-rock. It's all over the map, but it's all us, and we do it all wholeheartedly. We've sort of come up in the jam scene, and that's where our hearts have been in a lot of ways, but we don't go off on 15-minute epics. We're actually trying to make the songs shorter as we go. So I would lean much more toward the Americana thing than the jam thing. But, more than anything, we're definitely about the song."

To that song-centric end, the sextet hooked up with one of Montbleau's personal heroes, acclaimed singer/songwriter Martin Sexton. "I used to dream about getting to meet Martin Sexton," says Ryan, "and now we’re getting hired as his backing band and he's producing our record." Following an acoustic tour that Sexton and Montbleau did together as solo performers, Sexton hired the entire group to back him this spring and summer on a tour that included a run of shows opening stadium gigs for the Dave Matthews Band. While they were rehearsing, Martin heard some of Ryan's latest demos and immediately stuck his hand up, volunteering to produce the band's next record. They started and finished recording it in two weeks, right before going out on Sexton's tour. "Martin Sexton may not be a household name, but to me and so many others, he’s a legend," Montbleau says. "But one thing he made clear from the start was that he didn't want his fingerprints to be on this record. He wanted us to just play and be us."

Though he's long since embraced the full-band ethos, Montbleau spent a number of years as an acoustic solo artist at the beginning of his career, so it's no wonder that he's making up for lost time by so fully embracing the range of stylistic possibilities fuller arrangements offer. Growing up in Peabody, Massachusetts, he got his first guitar at age nine, but didn't get the bug to become a serious player or writer till he was attending Villanova University, and then there was no looking back. His first album (the out-of-print Begin.) was released in 2002, followed by the live Stages — precursors to the first Montbleau Band recording, One Fine Color, in 2006.

The unusual makeup of the band was somewhat accidental, as he tells it; he never had it in mind, for instance, that he needed a full-time viola player. "It just evolved over the years, because I really didn't have a sound that I was going for," he says, before qualifying that claim. "Well, I knew I wanted an upright bass, I guess. And I knew I wanted the drummer in some ways to be more of a jazz drummer than a straight-ahead rock drummer. But that was all I knew. I've personally always loved the B3 organ, but the keyboard approach really comes from Jason (Cohen), who's a vintage gear nut and tone junkie who loves old Rhodes, organs, Wurlitzers, Moogs, etc."

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