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4.7 out of 5 stars 385 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 14, 2004
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Product Description

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
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 14, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B0002S947K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (385 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #706 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

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Ray Lamontagne, a new name in the market, and an image of a great singer/songwriter is what we have here. A true find, a voice like no others. He has been compared to Otis Redding, Van Morrison and David Grey, However, Ray has a voice of his own, sometimes gravelly, always luscious. His first CD "Trouble" is bound to be a great one. The lyrics alone are enough to bring in accolades, but his voice and the music behind him, guitar, piano, harmonica and bass are all he needs. This is one to be remembered.

Ray Lamontagne spent most of his life moving around with his family, but found himself settled in Maine. He says he was an "oddball", always in trouble and hated school. He and his mom would have fights about his education. He finally made it through high school, just barely. He was working in a shoe mill in a small Maine town, when he woke up one morning to a tune on the radio that resonated in his head. He suddenly realized "This is what I am meant to be doing, singing and songwriting". He never went back to the mill. He set out to find his true vocation. He was found by the people he needed to meet and made this CD in California. Now Ray Lamontagne is touring all over the world, bringing his voice and music to us. I first saw/heard him on Conan O'Brien singing the title song, "Trouble". His voice has a mesmerizing quality that resounds with true vitality.

Ray writes and sings his own songs. "Trouble" is my favorite song with "All the Wild Horses" a close second. However, each song has a place of its own. Ray Lamontagne has given us a CD that begs to be listened to over and over again. Each time you pick up another sound, another lyric you might have missed before, that puts the pieces of this CD together.
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Format: Audio CD
The first word on the first track of his first album is enough to make any casual listener a devotee. With depth that accompanies wisdom, the grit of anxiety and influences of yesteryear's troubadours, Ray LaMontagne's voice lets out a cry and a lament. He sings "Trouble / Been doggin' my soul since the day I was born," like the words have been growing in his throat for years, waiting for a moment to be born.

That first line from Ray LaMontagne's recent release, Trouble, speaks to the quiet power of the album. It hails the emergence of a new artist to watch but will probably avoid the title of `next big thing.' In the way that the snare drum rim shot at the beginning of "Like a Rolling Stone" blazed the way for the brilliance of Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited, LaMontagne's first word is the wake-up call to everyone looking for the next singer-songwriter whose skill in simplicity is matched by his strength with words. Ray LaMontagne may well be the reason folk music has a future.

LaMontagne's past is the dream of every folk singer trying to pass himself off as the genuine article. He was born into a family of six children from various fathers and traveled around the country throughout his younger years, not because of his mother's whims, but out necessity. He lived in tents and cars, barely making it out of high school because he was always on outsider. It took a song by Stephen Stills to make him into a musician.

LaMontagne credits Still's "Treetop Flyer" from the 1991 album Stills Alone for his conversion from a factory laborer to a folk singer. Following the revelation of Stills, Ray sought other musicians of his ilk, finding Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young, among others.
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Format: Audio CD
First and foremost this is a relaxed, sexy album. Possibly the best make-out album released since the mid to late 70s. There will inevitable comparison's of Lamontagne's style to Van Morrison. This is not a bad thing. Personally I would say he's nice cross of Morrison, Otis Redding, and Bob Dylan, with some contemporary 21st century notes as well. As a bottom line, his voice is highly emotive and a perfect foil for the somewhat minimal and honest production on the record.

The album is consistently excellent, and never monotonous. Its still growing on me, but I feell Lamontagne has more staying power than Jack Johnson, or any singer songwriter of this generation except Elliott Smith (RIP).

Get on this album early, it is guaranteed to be smashing success. Hopefully Lamontagne will have a long career. These songs are such a joy to experience.
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Format: Audio CD
I don't often take the time to review things and I'm especially hesitant at this one and I'll tell you why: there just aren't many people like Ray that walk the earth and as much as he deserves endless success, part of me wants to selfishly keep him (his music) for myself. I've had the album for some time now and have always recommended him to friends (many of which now own and love the cd) and I even sent it to my father for his birthday. I figured he deserved a copy since he was the one who taught me what real music sounded like and that is what Ray represents: music in its purest form. I just saw him perform an all acoustic set last night and it was unlike anything I ever saw...and I've been to many shows. This was stripped down pure emotion, the vulnerability he transmits should hit a chord with anyone who has ever felt a human emotion. He is tall, slender and somewhat frail and is obviously a man of few words but when he starts to sing (eyes full closed mind you - a sign of someone who is giving you something from a faraway place) this eruption of soul emanates. It's as if the strength of his soul could feasibly rupture the frail exterior it is temporarily contained in. I'm pretty sure he didn't need a mike to satisfy the ears of the few hundred that sat attentitively in their chairs at the small club. He really shined when he went off on small tangents during several songs where the improvisation was as impressive as the prepared song. Not only did I see something different but I felt I just saw something extraordinary...something that practically no one else in this day and age of manufactured music could ever hope to ascend to. It's refreshing to see such honesty and humility in the form of a song. I hope that I see and hear a lot more of Mr.Read more ›
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