Artist of the Week

Artist of the Week: Ray LaMontagne

Since I received Ray LaMontagne‘s latest album, Gossip In The Grain, in the mail a few weeks ago I haven’t been able to stop listening to it! I introduced you to LaMontagne a while back with my “Song of the Week” of his beautiful first single off the album, “You Are the Best Thing” — currently my favorite track on the album. You can listen to it here for Windows Media or here for Quicktime if you haven’t yet.

Gossip In The Grain encompasses the perfect blend of music. Whether LaMontagne is singing an ode to Meg White of the White Stripes with his intriguingly catchy lyrics, “Meg White, I saw you on the big screen/Old Jack was keen/But you stole the scene/Meg White, baby you’re the bomb/Old Jack he’s great, don’t get me wrong/But this is your song ” or infusing more of a folk and country sensibility throughout tracks like “Hey Me, Hey Mama,” Gossip In The Grain has much diversity to offer listeners.

He’s been hailed “a songwriter’s songwriter, and a singer’s singer” by fellow singer-songwriter John Mayer, who has blogged about LaMontagne on his Web site, adding “I think Ray LaMontagne is as brilliant as any artist that has ever lived. ” And I must say, I have to agree.

Songs like “Henry Nearly Killed Me (It’s a Shame)” showcase LaMontagne’s continuous versatility. Whether it’s his edgier singing and guitar strumming on this track or horn features throughout, he grabs your attention. “Henry Nearly Killed Me (It’s a Shame)” is a song that will surely survive the test of time, and so will it’s singer.

“Let It Be Me” exhibits LaMontagne’s sensitive side while his lyrics are comparable to a modern day take on Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me” as his vocals blend extremely well with soft piano interludes and light guitar accompaniment. With poignant lyrics, “When it feels like you’re always comin’ up last/Pockets full of nothin’ ain’t got no cash/No matter where you turn/You ain’t got no place to stand/You reach out for somethin’ and they slap your hand/I remember all too well/Just how it feels to be all alone/To feel like you’d give anything/For just a little place you can call your own” La Montagne aptly gets his point across to the listener in an extremely moving way.

There is so much depth to Gossip In The Grain it’s almost impossible to get everything across adequately in one blog post. Definitely check out LaMontagne’s MySpace and pick up a copy of Gossip In The Grain when you have a chance, you won’t regret it — I promise.

You can also listen to track “Meg White” here. I’d love to hear what you think!