A New Hampshire native, LaMontagne moved around quite a bit as a kid. Graduation from high school only got him as far as a shoe factory job in Maine. When he heard Stephen Stills' "Tree Top Flyer," though, he had a revelation and an inspiration: he would pursue a career in music.
By mid-'99, the upstart had assembled a demo tape with 10 songs on it. Such was the level of talent evidenced by the product, Chrysalis Music Publishing signed him up and partnered him with producer Ethan Johns.
The LaMontagne/Johns team made their way through Trouble, which would become LaMontagne's debut for RCA Records in late 2004. Critics fell all over themselves and fans made their way, as well. In the UK, the album's title track cracked the Top 25 with the album making it to the Top 5. A number of tracks also made their way into various films and television shows, Rescue Me, Alias, and The Town, among them.
With Till the Sun Turns Black in 2006, LaMontagne stretched his wings stylistically, bringing in more complex instrumentation and arrangements featuring horns and strings. His efforts were met with solid favor as the record made it to number 28 on the Billboard Hot 200. More film/TV licensing helped more ears hear LaMontagne's work on ER, One Tree Hill, Bones, and more.
Debuting at number three on the Billboard album chart, Gossip in the Grain came two years later and continued to build his reputation and fan base. In addition to his songs finding their way onto television, LaMontagne got to be the musical guest on Saturday Night Live in March of 2009.
God Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise is credited to Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs, boosting his backing band to a sturdier status. The 2010 effort, recorded in two weeks at LaMontagne's home studio in Western Massachusetts, earned three Grammy nominations, bringing home the prize for Best Contemporary Folk Album. To support the record, LaMontagne launched a hefty tour in 2011 featuring fellow roots music phenom Brandi Carlile.