Ryan Montbleau Band with Jesse Dee at Red Square, Albany, December, 29th

Even a little blast of Mother Nature’s fury couldn’t keep the Ryan Montbleau faithful away from a long overdue Albany gig. As the snow fell and temperatures plummeted below freezing, things were just getting warmed up inside the intimate Red Square.

R&B singer-songwriter, Jesse Dee from Boston, MA opened the show for Ryan Montbleau. Dee’s soulful voice and playful personality were perfect foreshadowing of things to come. By the time Dee broke into “Slow Down” (probably his most popular song from his latest album, Bittersweet) around mid-set, the dance floor was packed and in full swing. Dee and the band finished up the opening set with a crowd-participating rendition of ”WhiskeyWash”. Although this completed Jesse Dee’s set, it would not be the last time we saw him on the stage!

Setlist: Yet to Come, Fussin & Fightin, Stay Strong, No Matter Where I Am, I Won’t Forget About You, Slow Down, Sweet Tooth, Only Remedy, Whiskey Wash

Much like his music, Ryan Montbleau’s personality is cool, confident but humble, and captivating. That personality transcended the small and intimate Red Square making the evening a special one, almost feeling as if we were in someone’s living room having a few beers and listening to tunes rather than being in an Albany nightclub. Montbleau opened the evening with “Head Above Water” and crowd favorite, “Songbird”. After commenting on how “it felt like old times”, the guys broke into a nice run of “I Can’t Wait”, “Stretch”, and “Fix Your Wings”. In an unexpected surprise, Jesse Dee joined Ryan on stage for a fun and playful version of “I’m Your Puppet”.

The evening rolled on with plenty of dancing and partying. The calendar may have said December 29th but it sure felt like it could have been New Year’s Eve. After playing through other favorites like “Jealous Guy” and “You Crazy You”, Montbleau wrapped up the night with an encore which was a show all onto itself: “Boat Song” > “Here et al” > “Honeymoon” > “Driving Wheel”!

The days of watching and listening to the Ryan Montbleau Band in a venue this cozy and intimate are probably numbered. After all, they’ve been selling out much larger venues as of late. Those fans that ventured out into the snowy and blustery Northeast evening were certainly rewarded for their efforts. Ryan Montbleau delivered a captivating, uplifting, and humble performance.

Setlist: Head Above Water, Songbird, I Can’t Wait, Stretch, Fix Your Wings, I’m Your Puppet (w/ Jesse Dee), Grain, Shufflin’ Papers, Jealous Guy, You Crazy You, Straw > Naïve Melody, E: Boat Song, Here et al, Honeymoon, Driving Wheel

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