Rolling Stone called Ray LaMontagne “the backwoods Van Morrison” when the magazine placed him on their 2004 Hot List. His 2004 Austin City Limits Music Festival performance was on several “best of the fest” lists and his debut release, Trouble, has taken him from cult following to mainstream.
After hearing a Stephen Stills song when his radio alarm clock went off at 4 a.m., LaMontagne quit his job at a shoe factory to pursue a career in music. “I knew I wanted to sing, which was really crazy, because I never even talked to anybody,” he said. “I just had this feeling that it was somewhere inside me, and I had to find it and let it out.”
In the summer of 1999, LaMontagne recorded his first demo. This collection of 10 songs started gaining attention from music lovers and soon found its way into the hands of a music publishing company. Chrysalis Music Publishing decided his songs were so unique that it warranted them making a record themselves and finding a label after the album was finished. LaMontagne and producer Ethan Johns worked for two intense weeks to create, Trouble, which was released by RCA in September 2004.
The CD has received widespread critical acclaim. Esquire wrote “His songs are grand mansions built on crumbling foundations, haunting tunes that document the prosperity for real love and deep depression to tap the same tear duct.” Acoustic Guitar World wrote LaMontagne can “take a relatively simple song and make it soar, and he does that time and again.”