Arguably the best thing about Jimmy Fallon’s late-night shows has been seeing artists from Adele to Regina Spektor to Zayn Malik perform with The Roots. The band’s versatile and energetic yet completely distinctive sound challenges the singers, taking them out of the comfort zone of their usual (paid) accompanists to create a spontaneity and urgency you don’t often hear on these artists’ recordings -- and for the musicians, it brings the excitement of exploring new terrain with new companions.
That was exactly the vibe at Ray LaMontagne’s invite-only concert at the intimate McKittrick Hotel in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood on Wednesday night. For his new album, Ouroboros, the singer has teamed up with My Morning Jacket -- minus frontman Jim James, who occupied the producer’s chair -- bringing a new dimension for both acts. MMJ is nothing if not a road-tested, versatile rock band, and even though the album will be released on Friday and the combo was tight and well-rehearsed, the group and the singer were both still exploring the darker corners of the songs. It was a combination preview and dress rehearsal for the 45-date, three-month tour with musicians will undertake together beginning in June.