LISTEN: Ray LaMontagne Previews "Supernova"

Posted on February 27, 2014 | by David Knowles

Four years after releasing acclaimed LP God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise, which won the Grammy award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, singer and guitarist Ray LaMontagne is back with a new record that refuses to play it safe.

Recorded this fall at Black Keys' frontman Dan Auerbach's Nashville studio, the album once again shakes up the often erratic formula LaMontagne has used to make his mark on in the music industry. Perhaps surprisingly, that included how he approached thinking about presenting his vocals, the aspect of his work that has received near universal praise.

"I wanted the edges to come out a little bit more," LaMontagne told Acoustic Guitar. "Another thing that I’ve figured out over the past few years is that I hate good singing. I just hate it, it’s so boring. Our whole culture is about what you can do with your voice. It’s so boring."

This is not to say that LaMontagne's vocals are less than fantastic on the new record, just that he isn't afraid to experiment with their trademark character, or placement in a mix.

"Wherever that song takes me, that’s where I want to go. I’m a soulful singer at times, but I’m not a soul singer," LaMontagne said. "The stuff that I love, the song is the thing, the voice is not, that’s not what drives me to the great songs that I love so much. I was trying to get to that point on this record and explain that to Dan. The songs are important, it’s not about my voice."

Look for a more detailed account of LaMontagne's songwriting process, as well as his enthusiasm for Paul Reed Smith guitars, in an upcoming issue of the magazine. Until then, sit back and enjoy "Supernova," the title track from the new record.

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