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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: May 22, 2014

Ray LaMontagne: Man of Maine, or not?

Written by: Ray Routhier
Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Sometimes in magazine stories it sounds like Ray LaMontagne is from Maine, sometimes it sounds like he’s not. Here are the basics that tie LaMontagne to the Pine Tree State. The information comes mostly from an interview LaMontagne gave the Press Herald in 2004.

BORN: In New Hampshire. His father and mother split up early in his life, and his mother and her six children lived in a variety of places around the country. They were without a permanent home and sometimes lived in cars and tents over the years.

RAISED: By his teen years, LaMontagne was living in Maine. He lived in the small towns of Buckfield and Turner, north of Lewiston. After high school he got a job in a Lewiston shoe factory.

He told the Press Herald that one day his clock radio woke him for work at 4 a.m. with a Stephen Stills song called “Treetop Flyer.” He didn’t go to work.

He went instead to a music store and realized then he wanted to make music his life’s work.

STUDIED: LaMontagne taught himself to play guitar after high school. He also took music classes at the University of Maine at Augusta, which is known for its jazz program.

PLAYED: While working construction jobs, LaMontagne played gigs in Portland and around Maine between 1999 and 2003, including at the Old Port Festival, the Maine Festival and the St. Lawrence Arts Center. For much of that time he lived with his wife and two sons, Sebastian and Tobias, in a rustic cabin in Sumner, also north of Lewiston.

MADE IT: He was still living in Maine when he signed with RCA in 2003. He soon bought a Victorian home in Wilton, a classic New England small town near Farmington, known as the home of Bass Shoe. He was still living there when his debut album was released and he started his first big tour in late 2004.

In 2009, the Republican newspaper of Springfield, Massachusetts reported that LaMontagne and his wife bought a home on 103 acres in rural Ashfield, near Greenfield, Massachusetts, for a little more than $1 million.

RAY LAMONTAGNE

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE: Cumberland County Civic Center, One Civic Center Square, Portland
HOW MUCH: $40 to $50
INFO: statetheatreportland.com

Face the Music: Remembering when Ray LaMontagne inspired awe and not frustration

As long as LaMontagne still makes music I like, I’ll keep listening. But man alive, the 15 minutes it would have taken to talk to us would have gone a long way in showing us that he remembers where it all started.


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