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Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

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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