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The Best Songs and History of Soulful Rock Balladeer Ray Lamontagne

Posted by on January 17, 2014

ray

The sound of Ray Lamontagne’s voice lands somewhere between the genius of Cat Stevens and Otis Redding.

There’s a vulnerability and authenticity to Ray that makes his songs hit harder, though he sings them rather softly. He backs it all up with the most basic, warm acoustic guitar.

His acoustic cover of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” is a stunner.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/5912570″ params=”color=ff6600&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Born in Nashua, New Hampshire in 1973. Ray Lamontagne’s single mother moved the family around a lot so that she could find work. Ray says he always felt like the new kid at school.

He graduated high school and found a series of odd jobs, finally landing in Maine with a day job at a shoe repair factory.

One morning he woke up to his radio playing “Tree Top Flier” by Steven Stills. The song inspired him to leave his job and pursue his dream of being a musician.

Ray Lamontagne made a bedroom demo in 1999 which, after a long wait and lots of hard work, resulted in the recording and release of his first full-length Trouble in 2004.

On it were some amazing songs. “Shelter”, “Trouble” and “Hold You in My Arms” were the standouts.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/ziUsdu1vZtE]

Till The Sun Turns Black was the next release in 2006, it was even darker than the original album. Two years later Ray Lamontagne released what seems to be his happiest song on the full-length Gossip In The Grain.

He’s got an old-school soul sound on “You Are The Best Thing.”

[youtube=http://youtu.be/g25ZjKBXw8Q]

You can pick up Ray Lamontagne’s latest record God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise and get updates on the summer tour at his official site.

Tune in to DJ Michele Myers Friday nights at 9pm on KEXP 90.3FM Seattle, kexp.org. Music historian & producer, Michele’s made over 200 radio stories for KEXP Documentaries. She’s written scripts, lesson plans & features for the Smithsonian, Experience Music Project, the University of Washington & NPR.

One Response to The Best Songs and History of Soulful Rock Balladeer Ray Lamontagne

  1. Jen

    Love his new song, Supernova. Can’t wait for his album to drop on May 6. Glad Ray is back! https://soundcloud.com/raylamontagne/supernova

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