Though still beloved by the mp3-blog faithful, La Montagne seemed to lose some of that crossover momentum – probably thanks, at least in part, to the follow-up’s darker tone, which turned off anyone looking for more of the bucolic sounds of the debut.
It may not restore him to It Dude status, but La Montagne’s third effort, sounds – in the best sense – like an early ‘70s Van Morrison record, loaded with warm acoustic guitars, strings, and the occasional touches of brass, with La Montagne’s pained soul croon hovering like smoke over everything.
But your new album, Gossip In The Grain, is full of smart, self-deprecating lyrics -- and even contains a tongue-in-cheek homage to Meg White. What about the Meg White song (called simply, Meg White)?
If we didn't know better, we might think you had a distant crush on her. There's a childlike playfulness that is really refreshing about the music The White Stripes make. But beyond that I didn't really give it a whole lot of thought. On stage, you're famously intense and rarely communicate with your audience. To me, a musician who talks too much is like a magician who does a trick and then tells you how he did it. I want to sit there and be taken away by the music, and have it be a mystery. Is it just a lifestyle thing or do you actually go out and till the land? But we've got a nice garden; some goats and sheep and ducks and dogs.
By all accounts, you were quite the tearaway as a young man. When the opportunity arose to pursue it seriously, that introduced chaos back into my life. Your personal life went through a rocky patch around then, didn't it?
n the dark days of 2004, when spiraling CD sales were crippling the record industry and legal downloading was still in its relative infancy, Ray La Montagne made for the kind of heartwarming story that true believers in the major-label system desperately needed.
Sounding like the ghost of Sam Cooke singing an album of Van Morrison covers, La Montagne came pre-packed with the kind of mythology that used to go hand-in-hand with rock & roll stardom: Bearded, dirt-poor, moved to create music when he heard Stephen Stills’ “Tree Top Flyer” on the radio during his shift in a Maine shoe factory – and prone to breaking down crying while singing his nakedly emotional songs in concert.
(On the sixth track, “Meg White,” he even flashes a sense of humor.) It won’t change your life, and it doesn’t deserve a spot next to the true classics of the genre, but is one of the most pleasurable listens that classic rock fans are going to find this fall, and it offers further proof that Ray La Montagne is a developing artist with a voice worth hearing – and if it’s a voice that it feels like we’ve heard before, so much the better. From what we've read, you're supposedly the most miserable singer-songwriter on the planet. It's funny -- I was working towards a sort of stability in my life. The first few years of touring especially were very damaging to me and my personal life. La Montagne’s debut, was an NPR record if there ever was one, but it was a breath of fresh air too powerful to resist.Though it wasn’t a major seller, it appealed to mothers-in-law and college kids alike, and for a few months, it seemed like RCA had lucked into the sort of crossover rock singer that wasn’t supposed to exist anymore. La Montagne’s sophomore release, 2006’s , scraped the Top 30 of Billboard’s Top Albums chart, but it didn’t register anywhere near the impact that its predecessor enjoyed; instead of building a slow, wide buzz, it peaked early and disappeared fast.It's like every song I write -- a melody popped into my head. Did I hear a rumour somewhere that you suffer stage fright? I never really enjoy being at a show where the artist talks a lot between songs. I don't want to know where the songs came from or what you had for lunch, or how you are feeling.
Stage fright, I would imagine -- and I don't know because I don't have it -- would make it terrifying for an artist to go out there.