Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Lamontagne and Lewis Take Road...
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Lamontagne and Lewis Take Road Less Traveled

Kristi Kates - July 14th, 2014  

Heading to Interlochen this month are a pair of singer-songwriters whose unusual paths to indie stardom at times paralleled each other.

Ray LaMontagne and Jenny Lewis are both pensive, insightful writers and unique vocalists. Their musical careers began in different corners of the country, but merged in ways only a traveling musician’s can.

GROWING UP

LaMontagne was born in New Hampshire and grew up in Utah, while Lewis was born and grew up under the bright lights of Las Vegas, NV.

LaMontagne, one of six kids, spent much of his childhood drawing role playing game characters instead of doing his schoolwork; Lewis grew up with a mother who was a professional singer, and a father who was in Johnny Puleo’s mid-50s “Harmonica Gang” band.

But before long, music was calling to both of them.

STARTING SOMEWHERE

After high school, LaMontagne moved to Maine. He abruptly quit his job in a shoe factory after hearing a Stephen Stills album and deciding to pursue music instead.

Meanwhile, Lewis was approaching music from a side street. She made her acting debut in a Jell-O commercial, and continued acting with bit parts in TV shows.

In 1998, she formed the band Rilo Kiley with several friends, and it served as the springboard for her solo musical career. A year later across the country LaMontagne began performing live shows.

DEBUT DISCS

2004 was another pivotal year for both artists.

During that 12 months, LaMontagne recorded and released his debut album, “Trouble,” with producer Ethan Johns and guest contributions from Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek.)

In a twist of events, Jennifer Stills – Stephen Stills’ musician daughter – also contributed vocals.

Lewis’ first album with Rilo Kiley, “Take- Offs and Landings,” had been released in 2001. But by 2004, she was already ready to drop her own first solo effort, “Rabbit Fur Coat,” on which she collaborated with Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), M. Ward, and Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard.

SOUNDTRACK SCENE

Both artists have also found musical success in other media, as their emotional vocals lend themselves well to TV, films, and their peers’ albums.

LaMontagne’s songs started surfacing in the mid-2000s on TV shows like “Rescue Me,” “Alias,” “One Tree Hill,” and “Bones,” as well as movies “The Boys Are Back” and “The Town.”

Around the same time, Lewis contributed vocals to a Postal Service album, plus several songs by the band Cursive. Later in the 2000s, she’d also sing on sets by Johnathan Rice and Elvis Costello.

TODAY’S TUNES

Now both LaMontagne and Lewis are going strong, having firmly cemented their place among the indie-rock elite.

Lewis, her current sound described as a “girlish mix of indie rock plus soul,” is releasing her latest solo set, “The Voyager,” on July 29 on Warner Bros. Records.

While LaMontagne’s newest, “Supernova,” just dropped this past April, complete with production from The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach.

MISSING LINK

LaMontagne and Lewis’ opening act for this trek, The Belle Brigade, slightly echoes LaMontagne and Lewis’s story.

Belle Brigade – siblings Barbara and Ethan Gruska – invokes the harmonies of The Everly Brothers, with vocals reminiscent of the girlboy dynamic heard in Fleetwood Mac.

They’ve also briefly tapped into the film scene, with their song “I Didn’t Mean It” being selected for the “Twilight: Breaking Dawn” film soundtrack.

And they have a new album, too: “Just Because,” which was just released on ATO Records.

Ray LaMontagne, Jenny Lewis, and The Belle Brigade will be in concert at Interlochen Center for the Arts on July 22 at 7:30pm. For tickets and more, visit tickets.interlochen.org.

 
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