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Gerald Carpenter: Ray LaMontagne Brings Pariah Dogs to Santa Barbara Bowl

Brandi Carlile opens Sunday's show for Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter

There are two kinds of events scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 11: those that have nothing to do with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and those that have everything to do with them.

In the former category, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Raymond Charles Jack “Ray” LaMontagne will perform with his back-up band at the Santa Barbara Bowl, starting at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Also on Sunday’s bill is Brandi Carlile, the rising young singer-songwriter from Seattle. Carlile having a radiant, extroverted musical personality, while LaMontagne tending to the moody and introspective, you could say the forecast is for “partly cloudy.”

LaMontagne only acquired the Pariah Dogs as a semi-permanent band in 2010, for his album God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise. As far as I have been able to determine, his is the only voice you hear on the album, with the Dogs’ discretely, exquisitely crafted accompaniment setting off his raspy voice like green velvet sets off an emerald. The Bowl seems a curious choice for his intimate, low-keyed sound, but one should never judge these things ahead of time.

According to the biographical scraps one has picked up, LaMontagne’s father was a musician, who — violent and abusive — deserted the family when he was a child. In reaction to his father, LaMontagne shunned music and musicians until after he graduated from high school. Then, working in a shoe factory, he had his Road to Damascus incident: a Stephen Stills song he heard on the radio converted him to the music way.

Since entering the music lists in 1999, he has released four albums, won a Grammy, and become something of an international star — the attendant celebrity has, indeed, created a conflict for this almost pathologically shy and reclusive man (he has sometime performed on a darkened stage, to audiences who couldn’t see him — that won’t work at the Bowl, of course).

There were still a few tickets left as of Saturday, priced at $83.50. The Santa Barbara Bowl is located at 1122 N. Milpas St. Click here for more information, or call 805.962.7411.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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