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The Loop

Published: 2013/08/09
by Kevin Flatley

Putting Family First, Rock ‘n’ Roll Second

Having a rock star as a Dad has probably been a mixed bag for many children. On one hand, you are probably the most popular kid in school and the envy of your classmates. On the other hand, you don’t see your Dad very often and there is a good chance he isn’t the greatest role model.

Jerry Garcia was an absentee parent, Johnny Cash wasn’t exactly available and the list of musicians with multiple marriages is rather long. Could today’s era bring a newer, more responsible rock star? Case in point, the two, very honorable, resignations of the guitarist and keyboardist of the Ryan Montbleau Band. Both cited family as their primary reason for leaving the band along with a good case of road weariness. Original keyboardist Jason Cohen is newly married with a child and has decided “the time has come for me to be home and focus my energy on my family” and called it “10 years of relentless touring”. Guitarist Lyle Brewer’s departure was described as an “effort to be the best husband and father he can be”, “stepping away from Ryan Montbleau Band to be closer to home”. Granted, the Montbleau Band does tour….a lot. They have played 200+ gigs per year including annual jaunts to Costa Rica, St. John, and everywhere across the USA. OK, so maybe that doesn’t sound so bad but how many people know what it is like to travel for over 10 years with 7 grown men in a van and a family at home?

Cohen is not only leaving the band he has been a part of for over 10 years but his drummer brother will be heading out on the road without him for the first time. Guitarist Lyle Brewer’s wife, Sarah Borges, is a singer/songwriter in her own right, playing a few dates a month in the New England area. Lyle recently released a solo album but who knows if those endeavors can support the burgeoning Brewer/Borges household who have a young child (and maybe more on the way now that Lyle is home?!). Could he pull of a Tedeschi-Trucks like existence of a family traveling the country playing music together?

Both Brewer and Cohen will certainly be embraced by the local Somerville/Cambridge music scene and there should be some interesting jam sessions popping up around Boston. You can currently find another ex-Montbleau band viola player, Larry Scudder, and other Montbleau “friends,” such as Dietrich Strause, Sessions America, and Tom Bianchi, playing various rooms throughout the week.

Is this a new breed of the responsible rock star? One who puts family first, who plays a local gig and comes home to mow the lawn? It will be interesting to see what happens if Montbleau does hit it big. He certainly has the songwriting chops to come up with a monster hit at some point in his career and has a devoted and growing fan base. Will anyone regret giving it all away? Time will tell but we should all give them credit for putting family first.

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