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Catching up with Ray LaMontagne

Tonight, enigmatic singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne will play the first of two sold-out shows with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

The first is at Strathmore, and the second is tomorrow at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

I talked to Ray for an article which ran in today's paper (here's a link). I was shocked to find out he's never played one of his songs for his wife, and that, at first, he didn't like his voice.

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This is the second time Ray has played with an orchestra. The first time was this past July at the Hollywood Bowl.

Ray had a funny perspective on what it's like to be backed by an orchestra:

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"When you play with an orchestra, you have to go back and re-learn all the songs," he said. "It's just a pain in the ass."

Hee hee ...

Of course, having a professional orchestra to back you up isn't the worst thing in the world, Ray admits.
 
"We played at the Hollywood Bowl with the Hollywood Orchestra," he said. "It was beautiful. It was really amazing. It probably should have ended right there. That probably should have been it for orchestra shows, because it was a nice way to say goodbye to the first three records and shift gears and move on."

We'll find out if that really should have been the end at tonight's show.

Here's another interesting little tidbit I couldn't squeeze into the story: Not only has Ray never played a song for his wife, he hates the whole folk singer mentality.

"I get really uncomfortable with the folk scene," he said. "The singer/songwriter mentality makes me really uncomfortable. I just want to throw up. I just don't like it. I think it's so weird. Let's all sit around a campfire and sing songs? No thanks."

(Handout photo)

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