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Ray LaMontagne abandons his signature style for a more experimental, psychedelic sound

Singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne is touring in support of his album “Supernova.”

Singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne is touring in support of his album “Supernova.”

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Ray LaMontagne’s singing voice has a distinct roughness to it.

Yet, when he speaks, his voice is very quiet and calm. Many may find this fact surprising – and it’s just another way LaMontagne keeps listeners hooked.

The singer-songwriter is known for his ballads and folk music. But with his latest release, “Supernova,” LaMontagne abandoned his signature style and went with a more experimental, psychedelic sound.


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“It’s just the melodies that were catching my attention,” he says during a recent phone interview. “The melodies that were coming to me, they were exciting.”

LaMontagne worked with The Black Keys member Dan Auerbach on the album. In fact, Auerbach put together the band that played on the album.

“I didn’t meet anybody prior to getting into the studio,” LaMontagne says. “It was Dan’s job as a producer. Like anything, it takes a minute to remember everyone’s name. It was through recording songs that we got to know each other and we worked really fast.”

While the recording process went quickly, LaMontagne says the writing process also went smoothly.

“I probably took a month out of the way and just wrote,” he says. “It was every day writing for me. That’s how it works best. I turn off my other interests and I punch in at 7:30 and I don’t leave my study until 11 p.m.”

While in that process, LaMontagne says he would whittle down the songs to what would eventually make it on to “Supernova.”

“It’s challenging,” he says of the editing process. “It’s part of the process and the editing happens with any artistic endeavor and then there’s a breakthrough.”

LaMontagne is no stranger to the limelight, though he likes to keep a low profile when it comes to his music and personal life.

His music reached mainstream status when his album, “God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise” won a Grammy in 2010.

“There’s no added pressure,” he says. “No more than there ever was, and as long as I’m enjoying the craft and the art of it, I’ll keep doing it.”