Last week, the Grammy nominations were announced, one of the “Song of the Year” nominees really stuck out for me. I’d heard the song “Beg Borrow or Steal” by Ray LaMontagne but couldn’t believe this traditional folk artist was up for song of the year. It’s a great song but not your typical Pop, R&B, flash-in-the-pan song that usually gets nominated for a Grammy.
More than likely you’ve never heard of LaMontagne or his music, but you may be surprised to find that this music has been around for the past six years and has been featured on various television shows including this season of “Parenthood” on NBC. For “American Idol” fans, you’re likely to remember Taylor Hick’s version of LaMontagne’s “Trouble” as he performed it on the show to rave reviews.
LaMontagne is the type of singer/songwriter that we haven’t seen the likes of since the 1960s and 1970s. His sound is very much reminiscent of the ballads of Cat Stevens (who LaMontagne also looks like), Loggins and Messina, and Crosby, Stills and Nash. It is said that LaMontagne heard Stephen Stills “Treetop Flyer” and quit his regular job to become a singer/songwriter full-time.
I think the pureness of his music and poetry of his lyrics are genius. His music is both mesmerizing and hypnotic. For a sample of some of my favorites try this year’s Grammy-nominated “Beg, Borrow or Steal”, as well as “For the Summer” from this year’s album, God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise. Also try “Be Here Now” and “Empty” from his 2006 album Till the Sun Turns Black, “Sarah” from his 2008 album Gossip in the Grain and “Trouble” from his first studio album of the same name. Take a listen and let me know what you think.