The way that Ray LaMontagne’s latest record, "Ouroboros," came together is nearly as evocative and hazy as the music itself. Last year, the 42-year-old singer/songwriter was having trouble figuring out how the melodies and song ideas that he had been working on should come together as an album. He ended up finding his answer in one night of fitful slumber.
“It all just sort of happened half out of sleep,” explains LaMontagne. “I rehearsed it from my excerpts and all of the pieces start to fit together and saw how it could make — rather than a batch of 10 songs, it wasn’t about songs. Simplistically, it was one song.”
LaMontagne split the album into two parts to evoke imagery of a vinyl record with two sides.
“Nothing will ever sound better than vinyl,” he says. “That’s just all there is to it. But [having two parts] also gives you a chance to have a change of scene — have the curtains close and reopen again.”
What resulted is a lush record that spans the gamut from haunting folk (“Homecoming”) to windy curls of psychedelia (“Hey, No Pressure”).
Through and through, it’s quite apparent that "Ouroboros" is an LP best listened to in full. “The first side [of the record] is pulling away from a grounded emotional place into sort of chaos,” he says. “Then the second side is moving back towards a place of being grounded.”
And popular appeal certainly played little part in the making of the album, which was produced by Jim James of My Morning Jacket. “If it leaks its way into people’s lives over the next hundred years, that’s all you can hope for,” says LaMontagne. “That’s it. I love the art form. I’m trying to get better at it. I’m trying to do better work all the time.”
The singer/songwriter best known for folk crooners like “Let It Be Me” and “Trouble” hasn’t completely separated from his musical past, though. In concert, expect to hear a selection of older fan favorites and "Ouroboros"in full, as well as songs from 2014's "Supernova." LaMontagne adds, “The live show is just fun."
If you go:
June 18 at 8 p.m.
Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing
601 N. Columbus Blvd.
June 22 at 6:30 p.m.
Prospect Park Bandshell
62 West Drive, Brooklyn
June 25 at 8 p.m.
Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
290 Northern Ave.