One of the more talented singer-songwriters in town, Ryan Humbert has paid tribute to singer Roy Orbison and country icon Hank Williams with elaborate stage shows. Back in 2014, he decided to give Bob Dylan the same treatment with Tangled Up in Dylan: The Music of Bob Dylan, a tribute show that featured many of the singer’s most famous songs. When it was held at the Akron Civic Theatre in 2015, the show was such a success that Humbert and his 7-piece band scheduled an encore performance at the Gervasi Vineyard Pavilion in Canton.
“We had done Roy Orbison, Hank Williams, the Everly Brothers and even Woody Guthrie," says Humbert. “I call it my classic artist series. We would pick a different artist and we would do nothing but their music for the night. They took off. We did five performances of Orbison. Dylan has been successful. We sold out the other three shows and expect this one to sell out. This has honestly has been a really fun show. The biggest problem is simply that there are too many good songs.”
Now, Humbert has announced one last Tangled Up in Dylan performance that takes place at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 22, at the Music Box Supper Club.
Band mates Erin Vaughn, Emily Bates, Ben Evans, Brian Piper, Dan Nauss and Michael Houff will join Humbert as he plows through some of Dylan’s greatest hits, including songs such as "All Along The Watchtower," "Blowin' in the Wind," "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Hurricane” and “Like a Rolling Stone,” the tune that Rolling Stone
dubbed the Greatest Rock Song of All Time, perhaps simply because it has “Rolling Stone” in its title.
“If you think about, Bob Dylan has three greatest hits albums, one of which is a double album” says Humbert. “I wanted something that would appeal to the casual fan but also the hardcore Dylan fan like myself. We do a big portion of the hits. We also do things that the big Dylan fanatics will like and say, ‘Holy crap! I can’t believe he’s playing that.’ We never try to imitate the artist. We wanted to take the songs and put our spin on them. That’s the best way to pay tribute to these songs and the artists. With ‘Mr. Tambourine Man,’ we thought it would be good to do a version more like the Byrds. It just depends on the song. The show shifts between electric and acoustic too. And not all seven of us are on stage at the same time.”
The set will also include deep tracks and B-sides such as "Abandoned Love," "Mama, You Been On My Mind," "Most of The Time" and more.
“I’m a huge Dylan fan,” says Humbert. “I have his whole catalog. I got the complete records box set when that came out a few years ago. I started with 800 of his songs on my computer and whittled it down. We are going to do 40 songs from 20 different albums. We said, ‘If we’re doing one more show, we need to blow it out.’ We’re recording it for a potential live album, and it will be epic. We’re pretty excited about it.”
Over the years, Humbert has become one of the more active singer-songwriters on the local music scene. He’s opened for acts such as Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, Train, Elvis Costello, Chris Isaak and Third Eye Blind. In 2009, he released Old Souls, New Shoes
, an independent, fan-funded pop/rock album recorded in Nashville with members of Sheryl Crow’s band as well as members of Third Eye Blind, the Counting Crows, the Black Crowes and more. While on tour supporting 2012’s Sometimes the Game Plays You
, Humbert recorded a 5-song in-studio performance at the Sirius XM studios in New York City. In 2014, he released Half Way Home
, an album he recorded in just six days in Nashville.
“I’ve been playing a ton and started working for the 91.3 Summit again,” says Humbert when asked about what he does when he's not digging into Dylan's back catalog. “The station is great right now. It’s super exciting to listen to. It's growing. I’m helping with events and marketing and design stuff."
Last year, Humbert launched the side project, Shooter Sharp & the Shootouts, performing classic country and honky tonk music for fans of authentic, old-school country music.
"We have a ton of shows coming up. we recorded some demos with Jim Stewart and they turned out so great that we’re going to release it," he says of the side project. "That album should be out in early summer."
The Ryan Humbert Band is still going strong too.
"I’m going to take the summer lighter with the Ryan Humbert Band," he says. "I want to play more with the Shootouts just to give that project a bit more of a push.”
Additionally, from 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24, Humbert and Co. will perform an acoustic set of Dylan songs in the Rock Hall lobby as a way of honoring the icon on his 75th birthday.
Ticket prices for the Music Box show are $20 in advance and $22 day of show. To order tickets, call 216-242-1250. Tickets are also available online at musicboxcle.com
. Admission to the Rock Hall show is free.