Singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne surprised a lot of people with how different his new album, “Till the Sun Turns Black,” sounded from his lauded and buzz-generating 2004 debut, “Trouble.”
And, he’s pleased to report, those songs sound even different thanks to his current tour ensemble — which includes pedal steel player Eric Heywood.
“They’ve changed a lot over time,” says LaMontagne, 32, a New Hampshire native who now resides in Maine. “The (changes) aren’t terribly drastic, but the pedal steel alone brings a new feel to everything, which I really like.”
Considerably more stark and moodier than “Trouble,” “Till the Sun Turns Black” was a risky follow-up to its predecessors, but LaMontagne’s audience didn’t seem to mind. The new album debuted at No. 28 on the Billboard 200 chart after its late August release, whereas “Trouble” never made it past 189.
“The songs themselves kinda dictated (the sound) quite a bit,” LaMontagne explains, even though, he acknowledges, record company executives also tried to exert their own agenda on the album.
“I think there were some who wanted to hear something very different,” says LaMontagne, who’s already writing songs for his third album. “But you just have to weigh those things in your mind. You have to respect them for what they’re trying to achieve, which is a record they think they can sell, but at the same time I have to be able to look at this piece of work and say, ‘OK, I can live with that.’
“In the end you just have to shut everybody out and just do what you’re gonna do. If they accept it and release it, fine. If they don’t, then I’ll just have to find someone else to do it. That’s just the attitude you have to have.”
Ray LaMontagne and Tristan Prettyman perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (December 2nd) at the Scottish Rite Cathedral inside the Masonic Temple, 500 Temple Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $30. Call (248) 471-6611 or visit www.livenation.com.
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