“Will you follow me?” Ray LaMontagne asked himself when recording his sixth studio album Ouroboros, expected to drop in early March.
The first single, “Hey, No Pressure,” features fuzzy bass lines reminiscent of a smoky seventies dive bar. LaMontagne’s familiar raspy vocals creates an overall mood of cool collection over the track as he throws in his usual bluesy-folk guitar riffs that drive the song.
But, the song is a little different from what we’re used to hearing from the folk singer-songwriter. Gone are the stripped-down acoustics layered with LaMontagne’s warm, textured vocals and rhythmic drum kit. Instead, we get a grungy blues tune with LaMontagne reassuring his weary-eyed friend that “anything you want your life to mean it can mean.”
LaMontagne sent a message to a small group of his fans late January, inviting them to join in on the journey he took to record Ouroboros.
“Ouroboros is an album musically unlike any I have recorded previously. It did not make itself known to me in sections, sessions, or moments carved out of the clutter of every day life. It presented itself as the simple question: ‘Will you follow me?’ Of course I couldn’t say no.”
And the journey LaMontagne took to create “Hey, No Pressure” seems promising. The haunting line that he repetitively uses throughout the song (“hey no pressure”) seems a cautionary tale. He tells us about a friend who is crumbling through the everyday trials of life and constantly tells them to “be careful” and that “this life is full of give and take.” The song’s darker undertones seem to match the writing’s darker tale.
Produced in collaboration with My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James, LaMontagne says of their collaboration: “It was probably the best experience I’ve had in the studio, ever. It was just such a generous, kind, creative, playful atmosphere.”