Ray LaMontagne’s latest album, the superb Ouroboros, further cements his stature as one of the most probing and introspective singer/songwriters of his generation.

Produced by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, the visionary song cycle comes cloaked in cosmic reverb and oozes a mix of cryptic mysticism and intimate confessions. On the Floydian-ballad “In My Own Way” he croons, “Lock the door, draw the shade, close my eyes. I’m miles away.” It’s a line fitting of an artist who has maintained an intense sense of privacy throughout his career. In an age when the personal minutiae of just about every chart-topping musician is stored in the cloud, LaMontagne’s life beyond his music remains a tantalizing mystery. To shed a wee bit of light on this guarded and profoundly talented artist, here are 21 things you may not know about him.

  1. Ouroboros. To announce the arrival of his sixth and latest album, LaMontagne — who isn’t a big fan of computers and social media — sent out an honest-to-goodness postcard to fans on his mailing list. He described the music as “unlike any I have recorded previously.”


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  2. And speaking of the new record, the singer/songwriter described his collaboration with producer Jim James as the “best experience I’ve had in the studio, ever.”
  3. He’s a real DIY kind of guy. In addition to building a rustic cabin for his family, LaMontagne constructed a blacksmithing shop for his colonial ironwork.
  4. A fan favorite, “Narrow Escape” is a folksy, shuffling tale inspired by Townes Van Zandt’s classic “Pancho and Lefty.” LaMontagne was lucky enough to see the Texas troubadour perform before his passing in 1997.
  5. An avid reader, some of LaMontagne’s favorite authors are John Cheever, Saul Bellow, John Updike and George Orwell.
  6. The artist admitted to battling depression when he recorded *Till the Sun Turns Black, *far and away his darkest full-length.
  7. RCA Records president Tom Corson has described one his label’s most prized talents as “insular and enigmatic.”
  8. LaMontagne wrote the bulk of the songs that comprise *Supernova, *his 2014  hit album, at his farm house in Western Massachusetts.
  9. While he avoids booze and cigarettes, LaMontagne is a big fan of smoking pipe tobacco.
  10. The singer/songwriter doesn’t like crowd chatter when he’s onstage. In 2014, while performing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he berated two concertgoers for talking too loudly before storming offstage. LaMontagne did not return until the pair was escorted from the grounds.
  11. LaMontagne and his wife, Sarah Sousa, have been together since their teens. She is an accomplished poet who has a string of published works to her credit, including Diary of Esther Small 1886, Church of Needles *and *Split the Crow.


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  12. After spending two exhausting years on the road in support of his 2010 full-length, *God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise, *LaMontagne felt so burned out that he considered stopping performing live.
  13. In order to buy his first guitar, LaMontagne sold his VW van.
  14. Rolling Stone described him as the “backwoods Van Morrison” when the publication placed the artist on their “2004 Hot List.”
  15. Before stardom, LaMontagne was a young vagabond drifting from city to city and state to state. He has lived in New Hampshire, Nebraska, Oregon and (currently) Massachusetts.
  16. The popular country act Zac Brown Band recorded a rendition of “Jolene” for their 2008 album, The Foundation.
  17. LaMontagne’s musical taste is all over the map. His love for Van Morrison, Stephen Stills and The Band is well known, but he also digs records from Metallica, early Genesis and Captain Beefheart.
  18. When discussing his famous ode to The White Stripes drummer on NPR, LaMontagne had this this to say: “She’s great, and she gets knocked about a bit, [but] I didn’t write [“Meg White”] to meet her. I just wrote it for her.”
  19. An impressive list of guests musicians have contributed to LaMontagne’s many recording sessions, including jazz keyboardist John Medeski (Till the Sun Turns Black), fiddler and Nickel Creek co-founder Sara Watkins (Trouble) and drummer Richard Swift of The Arcs and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats (Supernova).
  20. In 2010, LaMontagne revealed to the Tampa Bay Times that when he was young he smoked pot “all the time.”
  21. Mr. James Bond himself, English actor Daniel Craig, counts himself among LaMontagne’s faithful following.