Now I know the name Ray Lamontagne is not unheard of by any means. Google his name and you’ll be jolted into a jog of prime time TV series and commercials that may even surprise you. This man’s melodic music rings a nature of distinctness that can only be pegged as ‘vintage futuristic.’ Past its time, and behind its moment, the lyrical content of his songs is nothing but pure brilliance.
Perilous and persuasive, in every measure Ray Lamontagne has captivated his audience young and old. Just when you thought you had figured out his musical angle, he throws at you an album like Gossip in the Grain. Once again Ray Lamontagne has seemingly drained himself of all his emotions and poured it glass by glass into every track; sharing with us the timelessness of nothing less but magnificent music.
His more popular hits “Trouble,” “You are the Best Thing,” and “Be Here Now,” are all diverse musical indulgences in their own right. One from each of his three albums, but don’t let it surprise you there are many more phenomenal songs on all of the albums. You’ll just have to take a listen for yourself, and hopefully Ray Lamontagne will change your musical life just as he has mine.
Something resonates deeply within his songs to the soul. I can’t quite touch exactly if it’s his deep silhouetted raspy voice, or his poetic well strung lyrics that keep every song in tact with heavy emotion. It’s the mystery behind him; his less than ‘white picket-fence’ past, and his live performances. A man so profound and curiously shy, Ray doesn't often connect with his audience, and he rarely even gives interviews.
For most performers those aspects would come as quite a downfall to an artist, but for Ray none of that seems to matter. He has quite a dedicated fan base, and a following that keeps his shows sold out, and his albums selling. His laid back and secretive persona seem to give him a striding edge that flows reasonably well with his music, so in a way it all just seems to fit.
When I was first introduced to Ray Lamontagne, I disregarded him; just another quite guy in plaid, with a silly beard strumming a guitar. I stereotyped the music and the artist with an honest passiveness. Figuring it was to be just another soundtrack for a rainy, lonely evening (you know the kind). Much to my surprise, when I did let my guard down and decide to let Ray Lamontagne not only into my iPod, but give him a chance to resonate into my heart, it was like falling in love all over again.
I must state however that even though Gossip in the Grain is an amazing album, from which his newest endeavors are submitted. I am selectively partial to choosing a favorite out of the bunch. Till the Sun Turns Black (2006) his second album featuring 11 tracks, from which not a single one of them I have a negative review for. Till the Sun Turns Black features much more instrumentation then his first album Trouble, not that there is anything wrong with the first album. It just seems to me that by the second go round’ Ray had really touched on exactly what he wanted to do with it, and executed it to the fullest.
According to his website the first single off of the album was “Three More Days”, which he performed on The Tonight Show on October 6, 2006. Shortly thereafter the album peaked at #28 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The album went on to sell 28,000 copies in its first week of release.
My favorite song off of this album was not an easy selection in the least. I toyed back and forth for weeks not able to choose just one, but ultimately when it comes down to it, I would have to cast my ballot for “Lessons Learned”. The song’s lyrics critically yielding to ones own interpretation, having comparison to personal emotions being held at the time of listening. Something concerning lost love, incapability to love another, and unheeded warnings; leaves the listener with the hair almost sticking straight up on their neck.
There is certain darkness, and enlightening entitled in each and every one of his songs. All carried from Ray’s voice that seems to contain the entire outline of his musical career under his breath. Melody and instrumentation could be taken away entirely, left with nothing but his voice; a burning shiver of sound that heeds that of passion and muted emotions all at the same time.
Ray Lamontagne is currently on tour leaving no sides of our fair earth un-haunted by his delicate music. I urge everyone if you have not heard him already, to take an unbiased and careful approach into listening. He will most certainly steal your heart and run away with repeats on your listening device (in a good way, of course).
I certainly look forward to seeing him perform live in the coming months, from which you can expect another pouring heart review from a hopeless romantic.