It's this quality of over-sensitivity that makes the American singer-songwriter so special, conveying the impression that music is a matter of life and death to him."You wouldn't believe it if I went up there and faked it," he says, "and I can't, it's impossible; I just fall into that place as soon as the melody starts.
I think that's why people have kept coming back, because it's not dialled in. I don't like the tone."La Montagne hails from a poor, itinerant background, and has spoken before of an abusive father, resourceful mother, many step-siblings, school bullying and sharing temporary living quarters with chickens.
One of the album highlights is a breezy ode to the drummer of the White Stripes.
"Meg White, you're all right/ In fact I think you're pretty swell/ Can't you tell?
Echoes of Van Morrison's Astral Weeks are apparent in the gorgeous chamber jazz of "Sarah," and eerie, psychedelic British Isles folk -- complete with an otherworldly pedal steel -- haunts the grooves on "I Still Care for You." La Montagne and Johns are able to create varying yet webbed atmospheres in these songs.
The rambling free-form blues of "Henry Nearly Killed Me, (It's a Shame)" touches on Canned Heat, John Lee Hooker, and the Rolling Stones; it's another high point here.
Interview with Ray’s wife, poet Sarah Sousa, on the Writer’s Voice discussing her collection of poetry Church of Needles and The Diary of Esther Small; 1886 which she edited and transcribed.
Host Francesca Rheannon and Sousa discuss poetry of witness as one means of giving voice to ordinary women in history who were rendered voiceless through cultural oppression and devaluation.
You Are the Best Thing Ray La Montagne Let It Be Me Sarah I Still Care for You Winter Birds Meg White Hey Me, Hey Mama Henry Nearly Killed Me (It's a Shame) A Falling Through Gossip in the Grain To prevent your personal details being misused please do not put emails or phone numbers in questions.The set opens with the singer channeling his inner Memphis soul man on "You Are the Best Thing." Horns, strings, and a female backing chorus underscore La Montagne's heartfelt uptempo rasp that touches on Sam Cooke as much as it does Tim Buckley with a hook worthy of Stax/Volt.We may have heard lyrics of this type a thousand times before, as they evoke loneliness and longing, but rarely have they been expressed this authentically and this dramatically.With the knee-twisting posture of a nervous child, he looks as if he might expire with embarrassment.He sings beautiful songs of love and loss in a warm musical idiom of acoustic country soul, his voice ranging from a pained mumble to a soulful roar, like a cross between John Martyn and Otis Redding.