Ray LaMontagne

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Ray LaMontagne
LaMontagne at Prospect Park, Jul 12, 2006
LaMontagne at Prospect Park, Jul 12, 2006
Background information
Birth nameRaymond Charles Jack LaMontagne
Born (1973-06-18) June 18, 1973 (age 50)
Nashua, New Hampshire, U.S.
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
  • harmonica

Raymond Charles Jack LaMontagne (/ˌlɑːmɒnˈtn/; born June 18, 1973) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. LaMontagne has released eight studio albums: Trouble, Till the Sun Turns Black, Gossip in the Grain, God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise, Supernova, Ouroboros, Part of the Light, and Monovision. He was born in New Hampshire and was inspired to create music after hearing an album by Stephen Stills. Critics have compared LaMontagne's music to that of Otis Redding, Ryan Adams, Beck, Pink Floyd, The Band, Van Morrison, Nick Drake and Tim Buckley.

Early life[edit]

LaMontagne was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, in 1973, one of six children raised by his single mother. In his early teens he lived in Morgan, Utah, and was more interested in drawing images of Dungeons & Dragons than in his school work.[1] After graduating from high school, LaMontagne moved to Lewiston, Maine, and found work in a shoe factory.[2] LaMontagne also spent a significant amount of time in Wilton, Maine.[3] Other sources state that by his teen years he was living in Maine, spending time in Turner and Buckfield.[4]


1999–2005: Trouble[edit]

LaMontagne was inspired to quit his job and begin a career as a singer-songwriter after waking up one morning to the radio on his alarm clock playing the Stephen Stills' song "Treetop Flyer".[5][6][7][8] LaMontagne began performing in 1999 while maintaining a part-time job as a tutor.[6] In the summer of 1999 he recorded 10 songs for a demo album that was sent to various local music venues including Maine's Oddfellow Theater, where he was hired as an opening act for John Gorka and Jonathan Edwards.

A business executive named Ron Clayton discovered LaMontagne at a musical festival in Maine[citation needed] and introduced him to Chrysalis Music Publishing and in 2004 LaMontagne recorded the album Trouble with producer Ethan Johns and sold it to RCA Records in the US and Echo Records in the UK.[9] The album featured performances by Sara Watkins and Jennifer Stills, daughter of Stephen Stills.[10] The album sold over 250,000 copies in the US and 500,000 worldwide.[2][11][12] During a 2005 tour, LaMontagne appeared on the PBS music program Austin City Limits (season 31, episode 4).[13]

An EP of LaMontagne's performance at the Bonnaroo Music Festival was released in 2005 and his song "All the Wild Horses" was part of the soundtrack for the TV series Rescue Me[14] and the 2009 film The Boys Are Back. His song "Trouble" appeared in the TV series Alias as well as in a national television commercial for Travelers Insurance,[15] and his song "Jolene" was heard in the credits of the 2010 film The Town. His song "Hold You in My Arms" was featured in the 2006 movie She's The Man.[16]

In 2005, he performed at two charity events, a New York City fundraiser for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam.[17][18]

2006: Till The Sun Turns Black[edit]

LaMontagne performing in Dublin, January 2007

LaMontagne's second album, Till the Sun Turns Black, was released in August 2006 and featured horn and string sections on several of the songs with Rachael Yamagata providing additional vocals on the song "Barfly". The album peaked at No. 28 on the Billboard 200 album chart, selling 28,000 copies in its first week of release.[19] The album spawned the single "Three More Days". In 2006 LaMontagne performed on The Tonight Show.[citation needed]

The song "Till the Sun Turns Black" was featured on the television show ER,[20] and the songs "Lesson Learned" and "Within You" appeared on the CW drama One Tree Hill. His song "Be Here Now" was heard on the trailer for the movie Away From Her, in the film 27 Dresses, on the TV shows Bones, Covert Affairs, New Amsterdam, and Brothers & Sisters.[citation needed] LaMontagne performed at KYSR's Lounge for Life charity concert on October 5, 2006, at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, California. He also auctioned off one of his guitars on eBay for its charity auction. Funds raised from the concert and auction went to breast cancer research.

2008–2009: Gossip in The Grain[edit]

LaMontagne released his third studio album, Gossip in the Grain, on RCA Records in 2008. It debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard charts with 60,000 units sold. Working again with producer Ethan Johns, the album featured LaMontagne's touring band of Jennifer Condos on bass, Eric Heywood on guitar, and Ethan Johns on drums and guest vocals from singer-songwriter Leona Naess.[21][22]

LaMontagne at The Sage Gateshead in 2009

The song "You Are the Best Thing" was featured in the movie I Love You, Man and in the television series One Tree Hill. LaMontagne performed on Saturday Night Live in March 2009.[23] The songs "Sarah" and "I Still Care For You" appeared on the television series House. His song "Let It Be Me" was featured on the television series Parenthood and was included on the Parenthood soundtrack in 2010. It was also used in an episode entitled "JJ" from the sixth season of Criminal Minds and in the seventh episode from season one of Fringe titled In Which We Meet Mr. Jones.

2010–2011: God Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise[edit]

LaMontagne's self-produced studio album, God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise, was released in August 2010.[24] In December 2010, LaMontagne received Grammy nominations and won the award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.[25]

In August 2010, he performed at a Nashville, Tennessee, charity event to raise money for victims of a local flood.[26] The song, "Empty", appeared on an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent in 2010 and was heard during the film credits for the movie The Conspirator. It also appeared in Tony Kaye's film Detachment in 2011, released in the US in 2012. LaMontagne performed on the program Live from Abbey Road in October 2006.[citation needed] The New England native was featured on VH1 Storytellers in 2011.

In 2011 LaMontagne sang a duet with Irish singer Lisa Hannigan, "O Sleep", which was featured on her Choice Music Award-nominated album Passenger.

2014–2015: Supernova[edit]

In April 2014 LaMontagne released his fifth album, Supernova.[27] The album reached No. 2 on iTunes in the first several hours of its release.[28] The album then went to number one on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart.[29] It was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and recorded at his Nashville studio. The title track was made available for download on ITunes and Google Play Music on February 25, 2014.[30] On October 9, 2014, LaMontagne spoke and performed at the Grammy Museum[31]

Supernova garnered generally positive reception from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a "weighted average" score to selected independent ratings and reviews, the album has eight reviews and a Metascore of 78, meaning that it received "generally favorable" reviews.[citation needed] At Rolling Stone, Will Hermes rated the album three and a half stars out of five, stating, "Predictably, [Dan] Auerbach [as producer] helps the singer pull bright colors from the Sixties' crayon box; less predictably, he makes it seem a perfectly logical progression of LaMontagne's 10-plus years of cozy vibes."[citation needed] Thom Jurek of AllMusic rated the album three and a half stars out of five, writing that "Supernova is unapologetically and indulgently retro; a casual listen might dismiss it as mere nostalgia"; however, the "pairing [of] Auerbach's detailed, careful production with LaMontagne's open, expertly crafted songwriting and breezy, sensual, emotionally unburdened singing, that boundary is shattered."[9] At The Guardian, Dave Simpson rated the album four stars out of five, remarking, "There's nothing here that's exactly new, but by assembling an array of unexpected influences in one blissful place, LaMontagne has crafted an unlikely perfect summer soundtrack."[citation needed]

On July 23, 2014, during a show at the Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan, LaMontagne interrupted a song and walked off stage as a result of two fans talking during his concert, after having previously asked the audience to quiet down. The incident included yelling profanity at the couple before walking off stage. Once the couple was escorted away, LaMontagne continued the concert.[32][33]

At The A.V. Club, Chris Mincher graded the album a B+, saying, "Supernova is a surprisingly bold, enterprising follow-up from an artist who could have easily ridden out the rest of his career on adult-alternative autopilot."[34]

In May 2015, NBC's The Voice contestant Sawyer Fredericks performed "Please", a song written by LaMontagne early in his career and included on his self-released album Introducing Ray Lamontagne. The song immediately became the number two single on the iTunes chart, and Fredericks was declared the winner of the competition that same month.[citation needed]

2016–2018: Ouroboros[edit]

LaMontagne released his sixth studio album, Ouroboros, in March 2016. The album was produced by Jim James of My Morning Jacket. LaMontagne stated that Ouroboros was written as a single arc, rather than a "batch of songs" and that it was intended for vinyl.[35] He cited the Talk Talk album Spirit of Eden as stylistically similar to his vision of an unstructured, free-flowing album.[35]

Ouroboros received favorable reviews from critics, scoring an 80 from Metacritic based on 10 reviews. Many critics noted the album's psychedelic qualities, comparing it to Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon.[36][37]

On September 20, 2016, LaMontagne announced that he was canceling a September 22 show at the Bass Concert Hall at the University of Texas at Austin, due to Texas's recently implemented campus carry law.[38]

2018: Part of the Light[edit]

LaMontagne released his seventh studio album, Part of the Light, on May 18, 2018. The album is produced solely by LaMontagne. The first single released from the LP was "Such a Simple Thing', where those who purchased the album on LaMontagne's website received a stream of the live version of the track. LaMontagne commenced his "Part of the Light Tour" which kicked off May 27 at the Pacific Northwest Sasquatch Music Festival.[39]

2020: Monovision[edit]

LaMontagne released his eighth studio album, Monovision, on RCA Records in 2020.[40]


LaMontagne has a unique vocal style which he says is created by singing through his gut instead of through his nose.[41] He cites Stephen Stills, Richard Manuel, and Rick Danko as strong musical influences, while critics have compared LaMontagne's music to that of The Band, Van Morrison, Nick Drake, and Tim Buckley.[42][failed verification][43] A Rolling Stone review of his album Supernova referred to his voice as an "impeccably weathered tenor croon" and his phrasing as "marble-mouthed."[44]


For his debut album, LaMontagne won four awards, including three Boston Music Awards (Best Male Singer-Songwriter, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year) and an XM Nation Music Award for Acoustic Rock Artist of the Year. LaMontagne has received a nomination from the Pollstar Concert Industry Awards for Best New Touring Artist, the BRIT Awards for International Breakthrough Act, the MOJO Awards for Best New Act, and was given the title of Best Voice in 2006 by Esquire.

In 2011, Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs received two Grammy Award nominations, and they were awarded the Grammy for the Best Contemporary Folk Album for God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise.

Personal life[edit]

In 2009, LaMontagne paid $1.05 million for a 103-acre farm in Ashfield, Massachusetts, the former residence of U.S. Ambassador William C. Bullitt, where he lives with his wife, Sarah Sousa, and their two children in the farmhouse built in 1830.[45] Sousa is a published poet via Red Mountain Press and their sons are budding artists.[46] LaMontagne refers to himself as a "very private person" and rarely gives interviews.[47][48]


Studio albums


  1. ^ Martin, Gavin (September 2004). "Ray LaMontagne: Troubled Soul and Backwaters Blues from Camerga-Shy Maine Man". UNCUT.
  2. ^ a b "Ray LaMontagne: Looking for trouble". The Independent. May 1, 2007. Archived from the original on December 5, 2008.
  3. ^ Burnham, Emily (January 6, 2012). "The famous faces of Maine". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  4. ^ "Ray LaMontagne: Man of Maine, or not?". Mainetoday.com. May 22, 2014. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  5. ^ "RAY LAMONTAGNE: Centered by Solitude". American Songwriter. September 2006.
  6. ^ a b Williamson, Nigel (September 2004). "Old School, New Class". The Times.
  7. ^ "One to Watch: Ray LaMontagne". The Fly. September 2004.
  8. ^ "Q&A Ray LaMontagne". SoundSpike. June 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Ray LaMontagne: Biography". AllMusic.
  10. ^ See Trouble album liner notes.
  11. ^ "The Billboard 200". Billboard. September 17, 2005.
  12. ^ "Ray Lamontagne Profile". Archived from the original on September 2, 2006. Last accessed October 15, 2006
  13. ^ "Austin City Limits – Ray LaMontagne". Austin City Limits. Archived from the original on November 20, 2010. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  14. ^ "Music from Rescue Me S2E12". Tunefind.com. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  15. ^ "Travelers Insurance dog commercial (very funny)". YouTube. February 5, 2010. Archived from the original on November 11, 2021. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  16. ^ "Internet Movie Database – The Town". IMDB. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
  17. ^ "From the Big Apple to the Big Easy: The Concert for New Orleans". Fromthebigappletothebigeasy.com. Last accessed October 15, 2006
  18. ^ "Warren Haynes Presents: The X-Mas Jam". Archived from the original on January 25, 2010. Last accessed October 15, 2005
  19. ^ "Dylan Earns First No. 1 Album Since 1976". Billboard. Last accessed October 9, 2006
  20. ^ "RCA Records Official website". Last accessed October 10, 2006
  21. ^ Hasty, Katie (June 3, 2008). Ray LaMontagne Works Against The 'Grain' Billboard. Retrieved on June 4, 2008.
  22. ^ "Ray LaMontagne Tour Dates". Idiomag.com. February 1, 2009. Archived from the original on July 20, 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
  23. ^ "Ray LaMontagne Letterman Appearance". YouTube. Retrieved August 16, 2009.
  24. ^ "Ray LaMontagne". Columbia Records UK. Archived from the original on June 13, 2011. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  25. ^ Light, Alan (April 30, 2014). "In Ray LaMontagne's 'Supernova,' Hints of the '60s". The New York Times. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  26. ^ "David Gray and Ray Lamontagne Concert | Nashville on the Move of Benchmark Realty". Nashville on the Move of Benchmark Realty. August 12, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  27. ^ Andrew Hampp Ray LaMontagne Goes 'Supernova': The Folk Singer Talks New Album Billboard, May 2, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  28. ^ Ray LaMontagne Goes 'Supernova': The Folk Singer Talks New Album Billboard, May 2, 2014
  29. ^ Emily White Ray LaMontagne's 'Supernova' Shines At No. 1 On Top Rock Albums Chart Billboard, May 8, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014
  30. ^ "Ray LaMontagne Taps Black Keys' Dan Auerbach for May 8 'Supernova' - DC Music News Feed - Direct Current". Archived from the original on February 23, 2014. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  31. ^ "News". Ray LaMontagne. September 16, 2014. Archived from the original on February 13, 2018. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  32. ^ Serba, John (July 23, 2014). "Ray LaMontagne storms off Meijer Gardens stage". Michigan Live.
  33. ^ Kaczmarczyk, Jeffrey (July 24, 2014). "Ray LaMontagne's profane past". Michigan Live.
  34. ^ Mincher, Chris (April 29, 2014). "Ray LaMontagne melds his folky formula with throwback psych-rock". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  35. ^ a b Ray LaMontagne On World Cafe NPR, April 5, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  36. ^ Ray Lamontagne: Ouroboros Review Paste Magazine, March 4, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  37. ^ Ray LaMontagne gets psychedelic on new album, ‘Ouroboros’ Boston Globe, March 3, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  38. ^ Tolbert, Patrick (September 20, 2016). "Ray LaMontagne cancels Austin show due to gun laws". KXAN. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  39. ^ Smith, Jay (March 2, 2018). "Ray LaMontagne Brings 'Part Of The Light' To Summer". Pollstar. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  40. ^ Khan, Andy. "Ray LaMontagne Announces New Album 'Monovision' & Shares Single". JamBase. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  41. ^ Davies, Lucy (2004). "Ray Lamontagne Trouble Review". BBC.
  42. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Ray LaMontagne: Till the Sun Turns Black (review)". Allmusic.
  43. ^ Hoard, Chris (August 21, 2006). "Ray LaMontagne: Till the Sun Turns Black (review)". Archived from the original on February 20, 2007.
  44. ^ Hermes, Will (April 29, 2014). "Supernova (review)". Rollingstone.com. Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  45. ^ Vallette, David A. (January 26, 2009). "Vacant Ashfield farmhouse sold to songwriter Ray LaMontagne for more than $1 million". The Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts). Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  46. ^ "Ray LaMontagne, Gossip in the Grain, Exclaim.ca interview". Archived from the original on December 29, 2008.
  47. ^ Hull, McKayla (June 2, 2018). "Shedding Little 'Light:' The very private Ray LaMontagne finds touring difficult". Entertainer Magazine. Phoenix AZ. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  48. ^ Huxley, Phill (March 5, 2005). "Ray LaMontagne @ Rescue Rooms 03/03/05". BBC.

External links[edit]