My 5th studio album, Supernova is out today. My previous albums (in chronological order) are Trouble (2004), Till The Sun Turns Black (2006), Gossip in the Grain (2008), and God Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise (2010).

I'm rehearsing right now for a few shows this/next week in NY (May 1 & 2), LA (May 5 & 6) and Chicago (May 8). Then I'll be on the road all summer. All the dates are here:

Here is proof that it's me: And of course a photo:

UPDATE: Thanks everybody - nice chatting with you. See you on the road.

Comments: 545 • Responses: 21  • Date: 

kneedeepinlife114 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA.

I must admit that I'm a bit obsessed with your music. I listen to it nearly every day. When I first discovered your music I was going through a bit of a depression, but listening to you made everything a little better. So, again, I thank you.

As I understand it, you're no stranger to melancholy either. What do you do when you feel blue?

I can't wait to see you on May 27 :)

raylamontagne330 karma

When you're in a dark place, try to allow yourself to get comfortable with that darkness. It's only once you get comfortable with it that you'll see the light. And you'll be able to make your way through it and out of it.

nishantmittal83 karma

Hi Ray! Did Meg White ever respond to your song?

raylamontagne143 karma

She did, it was sweet. She really liked the song and took it the way it was meant to be - as an homage to her and Jack.

yournotright47 karma

I just wanted to say that your voice- your style- it's amazing. I really love what you do, and the way you do it. Congratulations on all of your successes.

raylamontagne51 karma

Thank you very much. That's very kind of you.

MVLM39 karma

Ray, thanks so much for the AMA and sharing your words and heart and talent with us. I will never be able to express how profoundly you've impacted my life.

My question--Outside of songwriting, what do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

raylamontagne129 karma

Raising two boys to young manhood, who are healthy and happy and well-adjusted young men.

kwgreen39 karma

Do you listen to any music that your typical fan wouldn't expect you to?

raylamontagne116 karma

Certainly. Early Genesis records. I love early Metallica records. I love the first two Captain Beefheart records.

mwhy79035 karma

Ray, it is great to see you back in the saddle once again. What was your inspiration for writing Trouble?

raylamontagne102 karma

Inspiration for Trouble was really more an exercise in the writing process. I was trying to emulate early 60s soul songs that were very simple in structure, simple and direct in the lyric, but somehow they're really effective. Even though if you take them apart, there's not a lot of parts, there's something so effective. They seem to last forever. I was trying to write one of those kind of songs.

Improvisation35 karma

How do you like the winters in Maine? Do you play more when it is cold out?

raylamontagne84 karma

I love winter. It's quiet and beautiful and still.

victoryswig30 karma

Hi Ray! I attended a concert of yours in Bend, Oregon a couple years ago. It was fantastic and the quietest crowd (a very good thing) ever. How do you handle loud and obnoxious crowds?

raylamontagne62 karma

I've learned to let them do their own thing. If you try in any way to control the audience's night, it's like swimming upstream. You're just making it harder for yourself.

To me, the night belongs to the audience. They paid a lot of money to come to the show. If they want to scream and chat, it's completely up to them. It's their night.

GOSisGOD27 karma

How does it feel to have so many people you've never met tell you that your music has impacted their life? What does it feel like when someone says "because of your music I had the courage to..." or "because of your music, i made it through a rough period in my life..."?

raylamontagne43 karma

It makes me feel great. I'm glad that the music reaches people and affects them in a positive way. I couldn't be more pleased to hear that from people.

maverick12424 karma

Hi Ray! I am a fan of your for years. I love Supernova you should be proud. I would like to know (1) what you did in the 6 months you did not pick up a guitar and if you were not a performer what you see yourself doing?

raylamontagne94 karma

I'm apprenticing as a blacksmith. I built my own shop and spent a lot of time in there working on colonial ironwork. I find that it clears my head.

If I weren't making music for a living, I would be working with a timber framer building barns.

14thCenturyHood23 karma

Hi there! Fellow New Englander here. What would you say is your favorite spot to visit in New England?

raylamontagne67 karma

I love to go to the coast in Maine, up near Accadia National Park. It's beautiful, very spiritual place.

amysunshine19 karma

Wow. Hello, Ray. Many, many heartfelt thanks for all that you've shared with us. And thanks so much for talking with us! (I'm weirdly anxious, as this is my first Reddit contribution.)

MY QUESTION: As an enormous fan of great singer-songwriters -- and a mega-super-colossal Ray LaMontagne fan -- I'm, as many others are, always trying to decipher the meaning of a song. In the last few years, I've come to accept that it's okay if I never understand what was in the songwriter's head and heart when the song was written; what matters (to me) is what the song has come to mean to me. As the songwriter (as opposed to the song listener), is it important to you that listeners understand the "meanings" of your songs? Do you feel misunderstood or not truly "seen" if listeners don't understand or if they misinterpret your music and lyrics?

Can't wait to see you play live (for the thousandth time) on Thursday night.

raylamontagne37 karma

Yeah, I think you nailed it. Songs mean different things to different people. I'm still trying to figure out what lyrics of my songs mean.

mytoothhurtsalot17 karma

Ray, long time fan here. It's fairly well known that you're a rather private person. It seems with the release of Supernova your name has been in the lime light more than ever. How do you feel about that? And just one more question... do you really live in a farmhouse?

raylamontagne46 karma

I'm glad people are talking about the new record. I'm really proud of it. As long as it's just my name in the lime light, I don't mind. I'll keep everything else to myself.

And yes, I do live on an old farm.

iamjillcook13 karma

Hi Ray! I'm a HUGE fan... but I'm so sad that I don't see any California dates on your upcoming tour. Any reason why?

raylamontagne30 karma

Actually, I will be out there next week for two dates, and we'll be swinging back through in the fall, definitely.


What inspired the story of narrow escape?

raylamontagne53 karma

Pancho and Lefty by Townes Vans Zandt. I saw Townes in Minnesota when I was about 20 yrs old and was just floored by his songs, floored by his performance. As a budding songwriter I was trying to write a song like that. Without copying him or imitating him, but trying to capture that essence of a very cinematic story that leaves enough holes within the narrative to engage the imagination of the listener and allow the listener to fill in the blanks. I think the best songs are like that. They leave room for your imagination.

pdbaird19 karma

I'll be seeing you in Chicago soon. Love your work. What's your favorite cheese? And if you could have been in any group 30 or 40 years ago, who would it have been?

raylamontagne43 karma

I would have loved to have been in The Band. For sure.


Ray! I regard you as one of the greatest songwriters of this generation and you're an incredible influence on the music I write and listen to. I hope I made it to this AMA in time for a reply (I never time these things right), so here's my question:

Your debut major release (Trouble) came out in 2004, so you were already in your thirties when you first gained mainstream popularity. How long had you been playing before that and what was your journey like leading up to your first major record deal?

raylamontagne33 karma

I was 28 when my first batch of demos got noticed by a publisher in Los Angeles. Prior to that I put all my focus on listening to records religiously and studying them, and writing songs and throwing them away until I felt like I had reached a point where I'd begun to write songs that could stand on their own. I didn't play out ever, really. Never played on the street. I spent my time in the "woodshed" working on the craft of writing. Performing came later. I learned that the hard way, on the road.

starstufft7 karma

Hey Ray!Recently,what is your favorite album to listen to?

raylamontagne35 karma

The record I'm listening to most these days is the Gilberto/Getz record. It's an astounding recording. Sonically it is just so rich - the musicianship is insane. It's a beautiful record. If you haven't heard it, you should definitely buy it.

vampeee5 karma

Hi Ray! What's the best place in the world you have not been as of yet and would like to visit?

raylamontagne19 karma

I'd love to go to Switzerland. Very doubtful that that's gonna happen, but I'd like to go.

BufoNebulifer4 karma

Hi Ray! Your music has been a mainstay for me since January 2012 when I first heard Empty from your Till the Sun Turns Black album. You are my absolute favorite artist, and I'm glad you're back on the concert circuit. (Supernova is superb!)

My question involves your sense of style. I've always loved the hats you wear! Do you have a favorite hat or an outfit that makes you feel like a million bucks?

Also, who is your favorite musical artist?

raylamontagne22 karma

I have a couple favorite hats, made by a friend of mine in Los Angeles. As for outfits that make me feel like a million bucks, I like denim on denim, which is a fashion faux pas, but not for me. Or George Harrison. Or Bob Dylan.