Biography: With a voice that recalls a huskier, sandpaper version of Van Morrison and Tim Buckley, Ray LaMontagne joins such artists as Iron & Wine in creating folk songs that are alternately lush and intimately earthy. The songwriter was born in Nashua, New Hampshire in 1973; his parents split up shortly after his birth, and his mother began a pattern of moving her six children to any locale that could offer her employment and housing. As a result, LaMontagne grew up as the perennial new kid in school (when and if he went to school at all). He did graduate high school, however, and found himself working in a shoe factory in Maine when he heard Stephen Stills' "Tree Top Flyer" on the radio. The song amounted to an epiphany for LaMontagne, who made up his mind on the spot to become a singer and musician. By the summer of 1999, LaMontagne had put together a ten-song demo tape that soon found its way into the hands of Jamie Ceretta at Chrysalis Music Publishing. The publishing house signed the young songwriter and teamed him with producer Ethan Johns, resulting in LaMontagne's debut album, Trouble. The record was picked up by RCA Records and released in the fall of 2004, impressing critics with such songs as the title tune, "Trouble," and the cinematic style of pieces like "Narrow Escape." A follow-up album for the RCA label, Till the Sun Turns Black, appeared in 2006 and widened LaMontagne's palette by incorporating horns and strings. Gossip in the Grain followed in 2008.
God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise (With The Paria