Ray LaMontagne Supernova Biography
Ten years ago Ray LaMontagne released his first album, TROUBLE, the gold-certified start to a fiercely ambitious, Grammy Award-winning, critically praised career that’s encompassed three more albums, several EPs, a slew of soundtrack compilations and arresting live performances fronting a variety of ensembles.
And LaMontagne is still having fun all these years later — and with his fifth album, SUPERNOVA, maybe more fun than ever.
“Fun is a trite word. I kind of hate to use it — but at the same time, I don’t know how else to say it,” LaMontagne says of the 10-song set, which was produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and recorded at his Easy Eye Sound studio in Nashville. “It was just an enjoyable process. These songs reflect just my joy of songwriting, what I enjoy about writing songs. they feel free to me. I didn’t have to go searching around through cupboards to find the missing pieces; all the puzzle bits would just sort of burst to life in front of me. I just grabbed them and pieced them together and then would be surprised at what was in front of me — like, ‘Wow, that’s cool!’
“It’s an experience unlike any other I’ve had making a record.”
SUPERNOVA indeed bursts with a spirited bonhomme and a rocking, technicolor-tinged energy that’s different from its four predecessors. The title track and first single is a grooving, Nuggets-style burst of neo-psychedelia in which LaMontagne’s high register sounds hoarse with pleasure over the explosive power of love. “She’s the One” is a bold, punchy, swirling rocker, while “Lavender,” “Julia” and “Smashing” are soaked in lava lamp melodies and day-glo grooves. LaMontagne and the crack band Auerbach assembled for the SUPERNOVA lay back into rustic, rootsy territory during “Ojai” and “Drive-in Movies,” while “Airwaves” rides a light samba rhythm and “No Other Way” is a love ballad replete with trippy images.
And “Pick Up a Gun” is SUPERNOVA’s noir epic, from its martial cadence to its airy ambience and lush keyboard textures.
“The whole record was written that way. It was playful and really wonderful. It felt the way it feels in the beginning, when you’re first writing songs. They’re not precious in any way. It’s just a joyful, emotional truth, not like anything that’s being dredged up. I just ran with it, man. It was a great feeling.”
Excerpt from “Ray LaMontagne Supernova Biography” By: Gary Graff
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