By Dan Shearer

Science has observed two different types of supernovas. Type 1 is the result of a star taking on matter from a neighbor, resulting in a nuclear reaction. Type 2 is when a star runs out of nuclear energy and collapses inwards before blowing outwards.

Ray LaMontagne choosing to name his upcoming album Supernova makes perfect sense.

2010’s God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise elevated the folk singer-songwriter to household name status. Not only did the album win LaMontagne a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album, his song “Beg Steal or Borrow” was nominated for Song of the Year. Despite the acclaim, LaMontagne found himself struggling. In an interview with Rolling Stone, LaMontagne shared his frustrations with his creative process and admitted to debating whether or not he’d even continue to make music. It appeared as if this star was collapsing inward.

LaMontagne would change his songwriting approach when he began working on the songs that would become Supernova. “I’ve always written with this slave driver’s critical mind lashing me, but this time I just let the songs happen.” he told Rolling Stone. LaMontagne would then send his demos to a producer whom he’d been trying to work with for years, and that person was Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys.

In the absence of a new album from The Black Keys, Auerbach left his mark on 2013 as the producer of stellar albums from The Growlers, Hanni El Khatib, Bombino, and Valerie June. He also took home a Grammy for Producer of the Year for his work on The Black Keys’ El Camino, along with albums from Dr. John and Hacienda.

The two set up shop at Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound Studio in Nashville this past fall alongside a cast of studio musicians selected by The Black Keys frontman. Over the course of 3 weeks, LaMontagne and Auerbach fused their talents together resulting in an album that could prove to be LaMontagne’s most explorative work to date. The collaboration might have been exactly what LaMontagne needed to reinvigorate his passion for songwriting. A supernova may signal the end of a star, but Supernova is shaping up to be the source of LaMontagne’s second wind.

On Tuesday, LaMontagne reported on Facebook and Twitter that the first single off of Supernova would be the title track “Supernova” and should be expected sometime next week.  Supernova will be released on May 6th and there should be little doubt that a tour will soon follow.


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