Echo Location: Ray Montford

Canadian Guitarist Ray Montford threads together country, new age and Pink Floyd

You can hear an audio version of this blog with Ray Montford’s music here.

raymontford4Guitarist Ray Montford has garnered accolades from people like film director Atom Egoyan and Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman.  The Canadian musician is slowly being discovered by listeners who want their music to take them somewhere.   Ray Montford has played scores of sessions in Canada, ranging from work with gaelic singer Mary Jane Lamond to the Canadian country band, The Rankin Family.  He’s a little dismissive of that work.

RAY MONTFORD: I toured with them in the mid-nineties when they were at the top of their game. We went to the States a few times. I just basically put on a hat that they wanted me to wear, and I did that.

But that might account for some of the country inflections you hear in Ray Montford’s playing. He made his first recordings on acoustic guitar, inspired by Windham Hill players like the late-Michael Hedges.

RAY MONTFORD: I was really into exploring open tunings and that whole   Michael Hedges vibe. But then it took me a while to realize that’s not really where my heart is, and my form of expression is more with a rhythm section and creating textures with that kind of support behind them. So it’s too bad in a way, because if I had stuck to the solo thing I’d probably be getting more gigs. [laughs]

Ray Montford

Ray Montford

But then he couldn’t have played those Pink Floyd inspired leads.  On Ray Montford’s latest CD, A Fragile Balance there’s a sense of pain and loss in the titles and music.  Ray had a few rough years that included being laid up with injuries.

RAY MONTFORD:  I had gone through a couple of serious injuries within two years, one of them involving a car accident. I was on a bicycle, so I felt very grateful that nothing worse had happened. So that changes the lens in how you see things. I think some of those titles are based on that.

Titles like when “Darkness Takes Flight.”

Ray Montford’s A Fragile Balance is an often haunting, but just as often triumphal statement.  It’s out on Softtail Records. I’ve got a more extended interview with Ray on Friday’s Echoes. This has been an Echo Location.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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