Led by founder and frontman Colin Montgomery (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Crown Kingdom is the culmination of a decade’s worth of his musical vision. An incendiary guitarist and intricate songwriter/composer, Colin is also a distinctive vocalist and performer. The group is complimented by an assemblage of unique musicians that form one of the strongest and most dynamic rhythm sections heard in today’s music scene. Crown Kingdom collectively honours the power-trio format where musicianship, authenticity and natural sound combine to create new standards for the modern music enthusiast. Pursuing heavy, progressive electric and richly textured acoustic sounds, Crown Kingdom’s sonic tapestry spans and pulls from a variety of stylings including technically layered progressive music, neo-classical infused rock, traditional heavy metal, hard rock, psychedelia, folk, retro-pop, blues-rock, R&B and southern rock. Crown Kingdom’s majestic music will undoubtedly impress even the least smitten listener.
After years of spearheading groups local to the Kent, Ohio area (such as “The Lone Leads”), Colin Montgomery (vocals, guitar, keyboards) developed a transcending sound that clearly required a whole new level of dedication, song writing and musicianship. This realization came to Colin in the midst of a recording project where his sound and compositions were taking the band into unchartered waters. The end result was the transformation of one band into the formation of Crown Kingdom. A band uniquely positioned to deliver a powerful new and revitalized sonic and visual experience.
Obviously, there were many hurdles to overcome and problems to solve as the band began their evolution into Crown Kingdom. This significantly prolonged the recording project. Band members left to join other bands and left to relocate and Colin himself needed to return to complete his education at the College of Wooster. A driving commitment and belief in this new direction inspired Colin to fight through all these obstacles and see the project to the end. It was not easy, through each break and virtually every other weekend, Colin returned to the studio, prepared new musicians and provided the overdubs and the production required to make each song come to life according to his vision.
Nearing graduation from the College of Wooster in May 2016, BluZealot Entertainment, working in the same recording studio noticed and heard the recordings that were taking shape. So impressed, Crown Kingdom was signed to a BluZealot contract and were featured in their first official music video (‘Timekeeper’).
This early lineup, however, would prove short-lived due to the demands and dedication required. Finding the right long-term, authentic and gifted musicians became the priority. As a result, Crown Kingdom now features a very strong rhythm section comprised of Brandon Ransbury, a passionate, versatile bassist with an orchestral background with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra. Colin Montgomery, with drummer, Danny Rigney Jr., and bassist Brandon Ransbury, became the first fully active lineup of the group. Ever determined to further their artistic vision, Crown Kingdom, has set their sights on music’s dominions and aims to make a monumental impact on the music industry.
Colin Montgomery ~ Crown King
Guitarist, Vocalist, Songwriter
As the band’s founder, primary songwriter and sole-constant member, Colin Montgomery is the torchbearer of Crown Kingdom. Montgomery’s passion, vision, voice and craft inextricably underpin the group which he states “is the culmination of my entire development and ‘mission’ as a musician.” Montgomery’s “mission” for Crown Kingdom includes the group’s intricately written and painstakingly developed compositions along with its high degree of instrumental prowess and power. The group’s most glaring distinction from most current rock bands are namely, Montgomery’s explosive guitar talent and unique lead guitar work: “many modern metal musicians can shred with ferocity and are technicality unparalleled by the giants of the past, but in rock music as a whole, intricate and prominent guitar playing is essentially a lost art form. I definitely hope to spur a change in today’s audience’s apathy toward musicianship.’
Beyond his modus operandi as a guitarist, Colin is a prolific and adept songwriter and a charismatic vocalist. Deeply passionate about his musical inspirations from rock’s halcyon decades (the Sixties and Seventies), Colin melds a vast amalgamation of disparate stylistic influences in his material. Additionally, his vocal styling is neither one which frequently complimented the guitar-oriented music of yesteryear nor the majority of music today: ‘I am a quirky vocalist. My vocal inspiration, due to the deeper nature of my voice, lies more with Greg Lake, Mick Jagger and David Bowie than it does with the legendary singers of the great heavy, guitar bands from whom we get most of our sonic influence, such as Robert Plant, Ian Gillan or Andrew Stockdale.’
Before Crown Kingdom, Colin’s musical aspirations followed the course of ‘an arduous, six year-and-plus-process’. Colin’s first band was the quartet There And Back Again, which he co-founded with fellow members of his high school’s marching band. From 2009 to 2012, the band predominately performed renditions of classic rock covers whenever – and wherever – they could get on stage. During his time in “TABA”, Colin developed his voice, guitar chops and stage presence. What they lacked in original material, TABA was supplanted with an ability to add their own personality to rock classics and entertain people with their spirited renditions of classic rock material. ‘There And Back Again’ began to incorporate original compositions into its repertoire and with members graduating High School and not invested in the band’s new material, the band changed its name to ‘The Lone Leads’ and lost some of its early members, leaving the band a power trio. The Lone Leads immediately garnered notoriety in their local area for their intense and unrestrained live performances, leading to them being characterised as a ‘powerhouse’ with their heavy bluesy sound and intensity. Concerts at the Akron Musica, Peabody’s and the various charity events elicited rousing applause from their respective crowds: “In Crown Kingdom, I hoped to consolidate what was working with the Lone Leads and augment it with a more professional approach and epic sound. Thankfully, BluZealot [Entertainment] heard these efforts and supports us on fulfilling this promise.”
His sonic influence on Crown Kingdom even appears in elements of their music which he does not play. When establishing the band, Colin decided that keyboards and further guitar overdubs to enrich the band’s studio sound needed to be introduced into the band’s sonic tapestry. These sounds were incorporated into their first release “CORONATION”, and have since been a central aspect to Crown Kingdom’s sound. In addition, he serves as a co-producer for the bands recordings and stipulates a conservative, audiophile standard in the band’s mixing, mastering and overall presentation of their studio material. As he states, there’s “nothing that goes ‘half-arsed’ here.”
His passion also extends beyond the realm of music he’s fostered with Crown Kingdom. While furthering his musical aspirations and developing the band, Colin also pursued a college education: “I generally consider myself a relatively serious student. I’ve always been highly interested in History, Languages, Politics, Literature, etc.” He first attended Denison University and Kent State before transferring to the College of Wooster, where Colin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a minor in Classical Studies having specifically pursued the history of Western Europe and the United Kingdom and the Latin and Ancient Greek languages. During his senior year at Wooster, Colin wrote a 122-page senior thesis on the British Left in the 1930s for his Senior Independent Study project (a required hallmark at Wooster). In addition, Colin is deeply interested in politics, economic justice, comic books, retro video games, science fiction, fantasy, philosophy and foreign languages. He also writes creative works and, when he has the time, Colin works on his two novels still in their infancy, The Heresy of the Dallidae, An Esteemed Incident on Dranth.
Brandon Ransbury ~ Baron of Bass
Brandon Ransbury (bass) is Crown Kingdom’s youngest member, yet his experience in the industry defies his age. Possessing a resume richer than those of many life-long professional musicians, Ransbury joined Crown Kingdom already an industry up-and-comer. Brandon’s musical career in his local elementary school’s beginner-level orchestra at the age of nine, where his first music instructor would guide him through the next seven years as a bassist. Brandon’s penchant for the instrument was virtually immediate: “On the first day of practice, she asked how long I had played before joining the orchestra. She couldn’t believe that it was my first time holding a bass.” He would later join the Baldwin-Wallace Senior Youth Orchestra at the age of 14, where he explored his interest in classical music and its influence on modern music theory.
At 16, Brandon joined the Contemporary Youth Orchestra where, under the leadership of Liza Grossmann, had his first taste of performance at the professional level. During his tenure in the CYO, Brandon performed with such acts as Graham Nash (CSNY/Hollies), and Ben Folds. He also served as the second chair bassist in the house orchestra for the first and second annual Alternative Press Music Awards, where he performed with the likes of Twenty One Pilots, Weezer, Fall Out Boy, Halestorm, Corey Taylor (Slipknot), and Hayley Williams (Paramore) among numerous others. Brandon’s impressive experience in the music industry at such a young age left an indelible mark upon the budding musician, recalling that “After this, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stand having a normal life. I needed to become a professional bassist and [the] CYO [Contemporary Youth Orchestra] showed me that it was possible.”
Branching out from his classical roots, and developing an interest in classic rock and traditional heavy metal, Brandon began working more in the local rock scene while maintaining his role in the Contemporary Youth Orchestra. He served as a bass guitarist for various local bands, and even helped to raise money for music shops, churches, and several youth programs and charities. His classical experience bled through to his endeavours in rock to create unique and engaging bass grooves that adapt to and complement the song, both in style and emotion. In 2016, Brandon joined Crown Kingdom in time to promote the band’s first major release, ‘Coronation’, and embark upon the band’s first major string of scheduled live performances. The band is euphoric to record its next material with their latest member and friend.
Brandon also has trained in computer security and programming, and has so far completed a year of education at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. In addition, he enjoys the cinema, especially the superhero genre of films.
Simon Hunt ~ Duke of Drums
Simon Hunt, the newest member of Crown Kingdom is a long-time friend of the band and its founder Colin Montgomery. Simon and Colin met as freshmen in high school and while they jammed together many times their availability and musical path’s never aligned. That is not until late in the fall of 2016, after auditioning several potential drummers, Colin and Brandon asked Simon to join Crown Kingdom. “It was obvious to us that when Simon played there was much more than just a beat. It is hard to find a musical drummer but we found one with Simon and Crown Kingdom has more to offer as a result”. Musically, like Colin, Simon is a very gifted multi-instrumentalist. He began his musical explorations as a child by studying the piano and guitar. He has played piano for the Kent State University’s Jazz Ensemble and has been a creative and contributing musician in several local area bands including, most recently, as a guitar player and songwriter for the Akron-based band Eddie Doldrum. Though he is an accomplished pianist and will no doubt creatively collaborate with Colin and the band as a pianist, Simon is an equal force on the drums and will be the dedicated drummer/percussionist of the band. Simon’s musical influences are as wide and varied as he is. They include Nirvana, Elliott Smith, Led Zeppelin, D’angelo, Herbie Hancock and King Crimson.
Joe Studer had worked with Colin Montgomery for six years before heading into the recording studio to record bass tracks onto what would evolve into Crown Kingdom’s CORONATION release. Having met as tuba/sousaphone players in the Stow Munroe Falls High School Marching Band in 2009, the two gradually developed a host of original material and worked together in the bands ‘There And Back Again’ and ‘The Lone Leads’. As a bassist, Joe brought a highly technically proficiency and melodic sensibility inspired by the bass icons of the prog age, along with contributions in songwriting. Studer and the band parted ways upon the latter’s metamorphosis into Crown Kingdom. Today, Joe and Crown Kingdom remain in close contact and are still vested in each others success.
Matt Warner, hailing from New Philadelphia, Ohio, was Crown Kingdom’s first bassist, joining after the recording of the CORONATION release just in time for the group’s first phase of post-recording activity. Having brought a highly adventurous dexterity and quirky sensibility to the band, Matt’s musicianship and ability allowed him to quickly learn new material and contribute almost immediately. He is featured in the Timekeeper music video, but parted ways with the group soon thereafter. One can find Matt today through his many collaborations with various local bands.
Gerald “Gary” Braden:
Gary Braden has been involved in the music industry for over forty decades both as a musician and music business owner. Braden owns and operates The Music Shoppe, which provides live sound, equipment and lighting throughout Ohio and when available and the project is right supplies his own musical talents as a pianist/keyboardist, guitarist and bassist. Due to his skill and experience as a studio musician, Braden was selected and hired to supply keyboards on Crown Kingdom’s CORONATION release, on which he also played mellotron, organ, electric piano and synthesizer.
Daniel “Danny” Rigney Jr.:
Daniel was born in Norfolk, Virginia into a family noted for some of its members’ success in country music and production. Rigney’s tenure in Crown Kingdom was marked by his powerful and grooving drum work, which is featured on the band’s debut release CORONATION. Rigney can also be seen in the group’s Timekeeper music video, along with Matt Warner on bass. After playing five shows with the group, Rigney left Crown Kingdom to pursue his career in Denver, Colorado.