Man in the Ring showcases unique range of talent on new album

The local band is releasing its second album, showcasing its live performances.

Courtesy of Man in the Ring

There is no one genre to define Man in the Ring. Its sound is a mix of violin melodies, jazz beats and reggae funk. The local band will celebrate the release of its new album Live at the Blue Note this Saturday.

“They have great energy and good showmanship,” Rocheport General Store owner Dean Deitch said. “They have fun and work hard at what they do, and it really comes across. They’re engaging, and anybody would appreciate their skill level.”

The band’s first album Man in the Ring was released in January 2010. While that album was half acoustic and half full band, its newest album is completely full band and a live recording.

“The first time we recorded in a studio we had access to state-of-the-art instruments and equipment, but after we got done it didn’t really sound like us,” singer and guitarist Brad Cunningham said. “With a live album, it’s a totally different experience. You get one shot. It’s a better representation of the band at this point.”

Like its previous album, Live at the Blue Note showcases the band’s ability to perform all different styles of music from Latin to reggae to jazz. The mix of sounds gives the band a unique edge, which sets it apart from typical local bands.

Drummer Drake Detwiler enjoys the variation of style and said he would be bored if he had to stick to one genre. Detwiler said incorporating different genres allows them to reach a wider audience range.

“We literally have fans from two to 92,” Cunningham said. “We have little kids that love us, and their parents bring them down. A lot of fans are in their 40s to 50s, because we play a lot music of their generation. We are thrilled to have people come out and support us.”

Man in the Ring does a few covers but writes most of its own songs. Cunningham normally starts off with a basic idea and writes lyrics and a basic cord procession. After, he decides what genre he could see the song as, and the band builds from that.

“I can’t read music, but I can write music,” Cunningham said. “I’ve learned some theory and some chords, but really it’s a trial and error approach. I’ve learned a lot more since playing with the band. I’m really fortunate I can communicate my ideas without writing the music.”

Their range of music makes Man in the Ring unique and interesting, but might create a challenge in their journey to achieve their dream of becoming a nationally touring band, Cunningham said.

“Every case is different, every style of music is different,” Cunningham said. “Right now, we’re sorting through the maze of this huge thing. It’s hard to find where we fit, because we aren’t this band that does just one thing, and I hope we never are. Right now, we are just loving what we do.”

The band will hold a free release concert for its new album at 8 p.m. March 5 at the Rocheport General Store. More information can be found on their website,

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