This husky voiced singer songwriter has come out with a beautiful debut disc with production help from Ethan Johns. The songs, all written by the singer with the exception of "Hold You In My Arms", which he co-wrote with producer and cohort Johns, show a remarkable maturity. This disc, which seems to be a basic collaboration between the two, with them providing most of the instrumental portion of the music with help from a string section, and Mr. LaMontagne doing all the lead and harmony singing, and Mr. Johns doing the producing, recording and mixing. There is a touching quality to the songs that is not sappy or overly sweet, nor are they maudlin in any fashion. The two of them are smart enough to keep it simple.
That Ray LaMontagne even made a disc is one of those quirky stories that show just how serendipitous this world is. He heard a song by Stephan Stills, Tree Top Flyer, shazam, epiphany, that was it, he knew what he was going to do with his life. He had been working in a shoe factory in Maine after he and his family lead an existence of many different locals in many different years. . However here it was in front of him his life's work. Flash forward a couple of years and a demo tape winds its way to RCA. They pair him with Ethan John and bingo, you have a beautiful heartfelt disc by a singer, with a voice like coarse sandpaper, who has felt the troubles he has sings about and does it in manner that lets you feel them too.
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