Ray LaMontagne is a singer/songwriter/guitarist whose breathtaking (there is no other word) voice & songs have catapulted him from a secluded family life in Maine into the spotlight. Ray's music is not easy to categorize; his songs are intensely personal & original, but also reveal a diverse range of influences that includes giants like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, & Otis Redding. With the help of producer Ethan Johns (Jayhawks, Kings Of Leon, Ryan Adams), Ray has crafted a captivating album that sounds both current & timeless, & will undoubtedly keep Ray in the public eye for the foreseeable future.
Some singer/songwriters (think Paul Westerberg and Elliott Smith) develop their world-weariness through the unforgiving trials of passing years and the heart-breaking grind of the music business. Others (Van Morrison, Neil Young) seem to have sprung from out of nowhere with the fully formed soul of a life well-lived. Ray LaMontagne belongs with the latter. On this, his debut, LaMontagne has crafted a handful of quietly devastating meditations on life and love--and delivered them with a raspy vocal all his own. The simple, mournful lyrics of "Burn," "Shelter" and the title track recall a Hank Williams ballad, and the reserved production by alt-country/americana genius Ethan Johns (the Jayhawks, Ryan Adams, Kings of Leon) make this a great disc for smoky Saturday nights, and rainy Sunday mornings. --Ben Heege