Since the release of his debut album 15 years ago, folky, earnest northeastern singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne has consistently been one of the most interesting, eclectic, and beloved figures in the folk scene, cementing his legacy with each passing release as one of his generation’s most talented singer-songwriters. After tapping well-known artists like Dan Auerbach and Jim James to produce his albums in recent years, last year saw Ray return to his roots and self-produce his latest work, the intimate and reflective Part of the Light. Though he made it to Ascend Amphitheater last summer in support, this fall sees LaMontagne’s long-overdue return to The Ryman Auditorium, certainly the best-suited venue in town for his particular sound and style, for a pair of dates this Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 29 & 30, with Canadian folk/roots duo Kacy & Clayton, as part of his stripped-down Just Passing Through tour. Easily one of our most-anticipated shows of the fall, tickets for both nights are still available here (10/29) and here (10/30) while they last! Read on for more about the shows.
Born in Nashua, New Hampshire, singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne spent his childhood moving around with his mother and five siblings, eventually prompted to seriously pursue a career in music after having an epiphany while listening to Stephen Stills’ “Tree Top Flyer,” at the time working at a shoe factory in Maine. LaMontagne, who now resides on a farm in Massachusetts, began performing in his 20s around the turn of the millennium, eventually refining his folksy, soulful, psych-tinged, and earnest sound, anchored by his unique, gravely voice, enough to land a major label deal with RCA ahead of 2004 debut LP Trouble. Met with positive reviews and propelled by its breakout title track, the album put Ray front and center amidst a new wave of lush, earthy, indie folk artists of the mid-’00s like Iron & Wine, swiftly leading to film and television placements (something his music has been particularly well-utilized for over the years), major festival appearances, and performances with and cosigns from a variety of big-name acts. 2006 followup Till the Sun Turns Black incorporated horns and strings, setting the template for sonic experimentation and further fleshing out his sound that would continue with subsequent releases, and by 2008’s Gossip in the Grain he was topping the charts, and 2010’s self-produced God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise, he was winning Grammys, a beloved modern folk icon with long-lasting staying power and an ever-growing organic following. In more recent years, LaMontagne has challenged his style by teaming up with well known artists-turned-producers, dabbling in retro, psyched-out rock with 2014 Dan Auberbach-helmed release Supernova, and taking his most heady, cohesive, and conceptual turn with critically-lauded Jim James produced 2016 effort Ouroboros. With his latest, last year’s Part of the Light, Ray took something of a reflective, intimate return to his roots, opting to self-produce at his home studio, to great intimate and deconstructed affect. With an acclaimed live show and a lush and diverse back catalogue, Ray LaMontagne’s long-overdue return to The Ryman promises to be a magical, one of a kind performance, and one you surely won’t want to miss.
KACY & CLAYTON
Hailing from a rural area of Saskatchewan, Canada, and raised on traditional country music, folk/roots duo Kacy & Clayton, made up of cousins Kacy Anderson (vocals) and Clayton Linthicum (guitar) got their start crafting stripped-down Americana tunes about their surroundings and upbringing. As their fame begin to rose, so did their range of influences, since incorporating more players and pulling from folk, classic west coast country, ’60s psychedelia, and more. After a buzzy debut with 2013’s The Day Is Past & Gone and excellent 2015 followup Strange Country, the group landed a deal with New West Records, who reissued their sophomore LP the following year, drumming up buzz and critical acclaim as they began to tour more regularly, opening for big acts like The Decemberists. 2017’s The Siren’s Song saw the pair team up with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy handling production duties, crafting their most lush and ambitious work to date, and for brand new LP Carrying On, released earlier this month, the duo once again tapped Tweedy to produce, resulting in what seems to be their best release yet. Show up early!
Ray LaMontagne and Kacy & Clayton will perform Tuesday, Oct. 29 and Wednesday, Oct. 30 at The Ryman Auditorium. The shows are all ages, begin at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are available to purchase for $29.50-99.50 here (10/29) and here (10/30).