December 27, 2004


Ray LaMontagne.jpg

Ray LaMontagne cherishes his first Martin guitar, but in order to obtain it, the singer-songwriter had to part with another prized possession.

LaMontagne, 31, a former carpenter and shoe-factory laborer who spent most of his 20s developing his skills as a musician, wanted a Martin because it's the same brand Stephen Stills plays. Considering that Stills' song "Treetop Flyer" inspired him to write and perform music in the first place, maybe it was fate that led LaMontagne to the Minnesota newspaper that listed the acoustic guitar he eventually acquired -- even if it meant sacrificing his custom ride.

Ray LaMontagne: "I had a [1972] Volkswagen van, [and I] had rebuilt the engine and basically customized [it]. I loved this van: It had a beautiful wooden Dutch door on the side that opened top and bottom. I had this beautiful, gigantic industrial bubble skylight on the roof (laughs) -- you could stand up inside, and you’d be sticking up into the bubble. It was awesome. I had a really old cast-iron stove in there; my wife and I lived in [the van] for a couple of years. . . . but anyway, I sold it and bought a Martin guitar. We still needed the van, to be honest. I think I ended up buying a $500 Ford Escort, and we drove cross-country in the Escort to get back to New England. It had no brakes, but we were young and insane and stupid.

"I still have [that Martin guitar] -- it's a 1972 D-35. It's a beauty. I've kind of stuck with that model. Now I have a couple of new ones, and I leave [the '72] at home now. It sounds much better than the new ones, I must say."

Trouble, Ray LaMontagne's debut album, is out now on RCA Records. His official Web site is LaMontagne's 2005 concert itinerary includes stops in Boston (Jan. 15), Philadelphia (Jan. 18), New York (Jan. 19), Los Angeles (Jan. 29), Detroit (Feb. 12) and Chicago (Feb. 15). He's scheduled to perform during the Jan. 19th edition of Late Night With Conan O'Brien, which airs on NBC.

-- By Chris M. Junior

Posted by medleyville at December 27, 2004 02:40 PM