Ray Montford is a guitar player who lets his instrument sing with abandon. Rich in imagery, his compositions are fuelled by a celebration of the human spirit, the open road and the backwoods wilderness, which all inspire haunting sonic canvasses of wild and raw beauty. While Montford's touch is reminiscent of British blues/rock masters, this unique Canadian talent and soulful player is making waves with a confident swagger and powerful sound all his own, wringing emotion from every note. Ray recently released his sixth studio album, Vintage Is Now, an evocative collection of originals steeped in a seamless mix of jazz, blues and rock; a shout-out that this musician has arrived. Produced by veteran Terry Brown (Rush/Klaatu/Max Webster) - Vintage shows Ray in peak form, as composer and guitarist.
Born in Ottawa, Ray began learning by ear and woodshedding with the great rock records of that era, in his young-man-cave in the basement... he also spent countless
hours listened to music. After graduating in 1984 with his studies in audio engineering, production, and performance in the acclaimed MIA 'Music Industry Arts' program at Fanshawe College, he travelled to Europe with a Euro-Rail pass to open his eyes to the world. Upon his return, Ray did a term in the Music Program at Humber in 1986 and he began composing, recording, producing and performing his own music. By 1990 he was dedicating most of his priorities in those disciplines and in 1995 he opened his own recording studio. Between 1994-'97, he was the guitar player for The Rankins and from 1997-'99, Mary Jane Lamond. Since then, he has been committed to his solo career.
His compositions have been heard on National CBC radio and have been licensed for various television series and periodically, he will score original music for picture. Over the past twenty years, Ray and his rhythm section, featuring some of Canada's best players, have played for audiences and loyal fans at music festivals, clubs, theatres, house concerts and private parties. They toured parts of Europe in 2001, shared the stage with the Tony Levin Band (alumnae of Peter Gabriel) in 2003 and sold out the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto for the release of 'A Fragile Balance' in 2007. Recently, they played the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts to a sold-out audience, the Oakville Jazz Festival (2010 & 2012), Markham Jazz Festival (2012), and the Canadian Guitar Festival (2009, 2011 & 2014).
Ray has gratefully received support for his compositions, recording, touring and self-presented performances, from the Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Factor and External Affairs. He has also received sponsorship from high quality speaker manufacturers, Totem Acoustic and Paradigm, who have in turn used his albums to demo their product. Ray has been a juror for the Toronto Arts Council's Composer Program and twice for the Gemini awards.
In November 2014, Ray unveiled Anchor Sound, a new recording studio in the Haliburton Highlands. An inspiring space and location, he will create new works there as well as assist other artists, as Producer/Engineer, with their musical visions and aspirations.
"The ever-tasteful musician has a gift for grand musical moments that retain their intimacy... an atmospheric, emotional road well worth travelling."
- Steve Baylin, Ottawa Xpress
"Ray Montford is a sensitive and exploratory musician who combines traditional techniques with
exciting world music influences." - Atom Egoyan
" shed your skin is a brilliant record... incredible playing... singular musical voice ... and one of the best recorded guitar records I've ever heard in my life!"
- Will Ackerman (founder of Windham Hill Records)
"As hypnotic as a highway at night, always-moving, always-changing scenery, the kind of music
you hear on an old car radio in the middle of nowhere." - Denis Armstrong, Ottawa Sun
photo by Cam Maclennan