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.
- 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.”
![alternative text](https://blog.napster.com/content/images/2016/03/sarahsousaworks.jpg)12. After spending two exhausting years on the road in support of his [2010 full-length](http://rhapsody.com/artist/ray-lamontagne/album/god-willin-and-the-creek-dont-rise), *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](http://americansongwriter.com/2006/09/ray-lamontagne-centered-by-solitude/), 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](http://rhapsody.com/artist/zac-brown-band) recorded a rendition of “Jolene” for their 2008 album, [*The Foundation*](http://rhapsody.com/artist/zac-brown-band/album/the-foundation-home-grownbig-pictureatlantic). 17. LaMontagne’s musical taste is all over the map. His love for [Van Morrison](http://rhapsody.com/artist/van-morrison), [Stephen Stills](http://rhapsody.com/artist/stephen-stills) and [The Band](http://rhapsody.com/artist/the-band) is well known, but he also digs records from Metallica, early [Genesis](http://rhapsody.com/artist/genesis) and [Captain Beefheart](http://rhapsody.com/artist/captain-beefheart). 18. When discussing his famous ode to [The White Stripes](http://rhapsody.com/artist/white-stripes) drummer on NPR, LaMontagne had this this to [say](http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98183792): “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](http://rhapsody.com/artist/medeski-martin-and-wood) (*Till the Sun Turns Black*), fiddler and Nickel Creek co-founder [Sara Watkins](http://rhapsody.com/artist/sara-watkins) ([*Trouble*](http://rhapsody.com/artist/ray-lamontagne/album/trouble)) and drummer Richard Swift of [The Arcs](http://rhapsody.com/artist/the-arcs) and [Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats](http://rhapsody.com/artist/nathaniel-rateliff) (*Supernova*). 20. In 2010, LaMontagne [revealed](http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/soundcheck/content/ray-lamontagne-talks-about-finding-his-voice-smoking-pipes-and-touring-levon-helm/2052268) 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.