By Jessica Wheeler, AliveTampaBay Columnist
Husky-voiced singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne has captivated audiences for more than a decade. While little is known about this privacy-minded artist, his music speaks for itself. In honor of his upcoming show at Clearwater’s Ruth Eckerd Hall on Aug. 12, here are five songs to help you get to know Ray LaMontagne.
LaMontagne was working in a shoe factory in Maine when he woke one morning to the sound of Stephen Stills’ “Treetop Flyer” playing on his alarm radio. The song inspired him to quit his job at the shoe factory and begin his career as a singer-songwriter. His first album, Trouble, released in 2004, brought him critical acclaim and attracted fans with its mix of soul and folk music.
- “You Are the Best Thing”
After the success of his first two albums, 2008’s Gossip in the Grain debuted at No. 1 on iTunes. Its lead single “You Are the Best Thing” displayed a more soulful sound, and received a lot of radio airplay.
- “Beg Steal or Borrow”
LaMontagne’s next album, God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise, was released in collaboration with his band, the Pariah Dogs. He produced the album himself, and the song “Beg Steal or Borrow” was nominated for Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards.
For his album Supernova, LaMontagne enlisted the help of Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach to produce. The result was a more eclectic album, with styles previously unexplored by LaMontagne coming to life in the studio.
- “Hey, No Pressure”
Ouroboros, produced by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, was released in early 2016. Its moody sound recalls the work of bands like Pink Floyd, rewarding multiple listens with a deeper understanding of the artist and his work.