The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Entertainment & Events

May 3, 2014

LaMontagne ventures out musically in new album

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It may be hard to recognize Ray LaMontagne behind all the reverb and distortion on his new album, but the singer-songwriter says it’s the most exposed he’s ever been on a record.

LaMontagne, known for his acoustic folk ballads, let the songs for “Supernova” lead him to a new sonic palate reminiscent of 1960s psychedelic rock, with airy layers of electric guitar, keyboards, drums and echoing background vocals.

“These songs, something about the way they came to me, it feels like it’s a very unguarded Ray,” LaMontagne said. “Maybe before I would have been hesitant to put it forward, even to the band I was playing with.”

Following his Grammy-winning album, “God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise,” LaMontagne said he felt more creative freedom to let his instincts carry him toward the songs on his fifth studio album.

“This time, for some reason, I just feel like I am at a place now in my career where I can just be less critical when I am sifting through things,” LaMontagne said in an phone interview from his home in western Massachusetts.

So it became a good fit as well to get producer and Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach to record the album in Auerbach’s Nashville studio. Auerbach picked out LaMontagne’s backing band, none of whom had met or worked with the singer.

Richard Swift, a producer and musician who plays with The Shins and now The Black Keys, was brought in to play drums. He helped Auerbach with some of the arrangements since they both were heavily influenced by older musical styles.

“We don’t want to just regurgitate what’s already existed, but we do love old records,” Swift said. “The idea is to make it timeless-sounding.”

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