Live at Life is Good, by the Ryan Montbleau Band

It’s a testament to the quality of its musicianship when a band sounds as good live as it does in studio. In this regard, the Ryan Montbleau Band does not disappoint. Stretching 14 songs over two discs, with tracks ranging from 2 to 10 minutes in length, Live at Life is Good (recorded at Life is Good company headquarters in Boston, with a percentage of the proceeds supporting, through Life is Good Playmakers, kids faced with life-threatening circumstances like violence, illness and poverty) provides an excellent overview of lead singer/guitarist Montbleau’s melodic vocal style, and his band’s tight-knit improvisational abilities. While “Grain of Sand” opens with a hard-swinging drive that would make Big Bad Voodoo Daddy proud, the light-as-as-a-feather reggae tune “Songbird” floats along effortlessly. Country ballad “Chariot (I Know)” rounds out the genre trifecta.

(Originally appeared in The Valley Advocate.)

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