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music

Amid the noise, Ray LaMontagne seeks peace in the music he creates

Ray LaMontagne plays two shows in Boston this weekend.
Ray LaMontagne plays two shows in Boston this weekend.

Ray LaMontagne is a true singer’s singer. He evokes the soulful rasp of Gregg Allman with the spiritual intensity of Richard Manuel of the Band. He also loves Ray Davies of the Kinks (“a genius,” he says), Texas troubadour Townes Van Zandt, and, oh yes, Pink Floyd.

“They’re in my DNA,” LaMontagne says of Pink Floyd, whose influence was evident on his previous album, “Ouroboros.” That record is now followed by the beguiling, disarmingly brilliant “Part of the Light,” his seventh release since leaving his job as a Maine shoe factory worker to pursue music.

LaMontagne, 45, now lives in rural Western Massachusetts, where he is raising a family with his wife, poet Sarah Sousa, in between albums that dig deep in meaning, transcend pop trends — and in the new one, convey significant social messages. He plays the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion Saturday and Sunday, with Neko Case opening.

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Q. Let me ask you about the new record, “Part of the Light.” On the title track you step into social commentary with the lyric “When kindness is the greatest gift we can share, why choose hate or subjugate your fellow man?” You also sing, “Why do so many people only close their hearts, turn their eyes as others’ lives are torn apart?” Can you talk about your inspirations there?

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A. Well, you don’t have to look too far for that, do you? I think a lot of this record is just me talking to myself and trying to figure out how to relate to it all. The world is crazy. Our culture is crazy right now. It’s hard to even talk about it because we all know. It’s really sad. In the end, all I can do personally is just take stock of my own life and my own relationships and my friends and family. Sarah and I have been together for 29 years. We’ve been together since we were 16. I guess for me I feel I can’t change anything. All I can do is to try to put something positive into the world, whatever that is, and not add to any dark place. These songs are just confirming that to myself.

Q. You also sing, “Time goes by so fast, let’s make it last.”

A. Time goes by so. . . so very fast. It’s a crazy little blip that we’re here. But it’s beautiful. It’s a gift. I just want to be present in this world, and that takes effort.

Q. How do you stay positive? If you watch CNN, it can be so depressing. How do you stay above the fray?

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A. I don’t watch the news. I check on it every couple of weeks. I used to be an avid NPR listener, but I don’t listen to NPR anymore. The culture of NPR has changed so much in the past 10 years. It used to be really calm and rational, and I don’t feel that way anymore. With the news, there’s just so much ugliness thrown in your face. I just can’t do it. It’s the worst of humanity all the time. I just keep my distance and fill my days with things that make me feel peaceful and quiet.

Q. You’ve spent a lot of time in New England. You were born in New Hampshire and lived in Maine and Massachusetts. And I remember years ago you even won some Boston Music Awards. What does New England mean to you?

A. I call it home, but I was also raised all over the country. I spent a lot of years in Nebraska as a kid, and Tennessee and Utah. But I loved Nebraska. A lot of songs on [my album] “Supernova” are all about Nebraska. But New England just feels like home. There are so many reasons. I love the landscape and I love the old colonial homes.

Q. How come you moved so much as a kid?

A. My mom was a gypsy. She was a runaway. She ran away from home when she was 13. I was raised by my mom. I was used to hippie living — and we went from one friend’s backyard to another.

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Q. Did you think you’d have a career in the music business? It sounds like you accidentally got into it.

‘I think a lot of this record is just me talking to myself and trying to figure out how to relate to it all. The world is crazy. Our culture is crazy right now.’

A. No, I never really thought about it as a career. I just fell in love with music and started to write songs, but didn’t think anything would come of it. Then I started to play more, and opportunities come your way and I just tried to do the best I could.

Q. You’ve had wonderful luck with producers. Did you have a vision of which producers you wanted to work with? You’ve worked with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, and Ethan Johns. These are classic people.

A. Ethan was kind of thrust upon me but not in a negative way because he was good friends with my publisher at the time. So that’s how we met. And Dan and I bumped into each other a few times over the years and wanted to try something. And I knew Jim for 15 years. If I feel it would be interesting to collaborate with someone, then I’ll do it.

Q. You do more rock on the new record. The song “As Black as Blood Is Blue” really rocks. There are lot of reflective tunes too, but some of it rocks hard.

A. We were just kicking out the jams. On certain songs you have to kick out the jams. You just got to turn up.

RAY LAMONTAGNE

With Neko Case. At Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, June 23-24 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $33.50-$83.50, www.ticketmaster.com

Interview was edited and condensed. Steve Morse can be reached at spmorse@gmail.com.