September 6, 2007

Artist Comparison: Ray LaMontagne / Iron & Wine

Remember how I said I like acoustic guitar / folk / rock ? Well, over the past couple years, I've come to like two artists in paticular. They're Ray LaMontagne and Iron & Wine (aka Sam Beam). Both are known for their fantastic acoustic guitar work, and both, to quote the movie Hot Fuzz, have a great big bushy beard!All humor aside, these two musicians have quite a bit in common. Their voices are fairly similar, a sort of high, off-rasp that is really complimented by their fantastic guitar work.

Forever My Friend - Ray LaMontagne
Woman King - Iron & Wine

Forever My Friend and Woman King both show the faster sides of these two musicians. It's got similar guitar and percussion work behind the vocals and employ a similar meter for each one. (It's not exactly the same, but close). The differences come in with the lyrics, as the content of both are quite different. The similarities here are superficial in nature.
The similiarities between Iron & Wine's cover of the Postal Service's fantastic Such Great Heights and LaMontagne's Be Here Now are much closer, this time, with subject matter - they've at least hit the same genre - Love. Such Great Heights is a love song, and it's a fanastic adaptation from Iron & Wine, really capturing the delicate nature of the lyrics. Be Here Now does just the same thing - like Such Great Heights, it uses delicate guitar work and vocals to get the song across brilliantly.

Such Great Heights - Iron & Wine
Be Here Now - Ray LaMontagne

How cool would it be to see these two do a duet? Ray LaMontagne has already done one with Damien Rice, a cover of To Love Somebody, which came out really nicely. Both artists have done various covers of other songs as well - LaMontagne has done that one, but also a good cover of Gnarls Barkley's Crazy, while Iron & Wine has covered not only Such Great Heights, but also the Rolling Stone's Wild Horses. In each case, they've both gone and made the song their own, changing the speed and overall sound of the song to suit their needs. And in each case, it's a fantastic cover. Those are the only ones that I currently have, but I'm sure that there's some other good ones out there.