Immaculate debut from late developing troubadour
Thirty-one-year-old Ray LaMontagne from Maine spent the years leading up to his debut album profitably, delving back into rock’s golden era to absorb a range of songwriting influences from Van Morrison to Bob Dylan, with a touch of Sam Cooke and Ray Charles filtering through into the blue-eyed soul vocals. In fact, with its acoustic guitars, double bass and understated strings, if they marketed the album as a long-lost singer-songwriter classic left languishing in the vaults for the last 30 years, you wouldn’t find much reason to question the claim. There’s also a certain similarity to Ryan Adams’ Heartbreaker, attributable to the fact that both records were produced by Ethan Johns. Modest, but quietly magnificent.