Ray LaMontagne + Hamilton Leithauser

Music, Folk, country and blues
David Gray and Ray LaMontagne at Pritzker Pavilion, 8/25/10
Photograph: Dana Loftus

Grammy-winner Ray LaMontagne has a husky voice that reminds people of Van Morrison, and he can overdo things even more than that singer. But his albums, most recently 2010's God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise, are blessed with the easy, natural production you might find on much older soul records. The beloved yet publically underappreciated Walkmen seemingly broke up this winter. Or, well, they're pulling a Kiss in 1978—frontman Leithauser, bassist-organist Walter Martin and organist-bassist Peter Bauer are all releasing solo albums within weeks of each other this spring. Naturally, as he is the voice, Leithauser carries a large portion of the Philly–New York band's DNA. His raspy garage-soul howl and bespoke crooner image is in full evidence on "Alexandra," the first single from his Black Hours. Members of Vampire Weekend, the Shins, Fleet Foxes, Dirty Projectors, and, indeed, the Walkmen chipped in on the solo record. 

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