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Ray Lamontagne 

Saturday, September 24; the Pageant (6161 Delmar Boulevard)

Ray Lamontagne never listened to Van Morrison before he recorded his debut, Trouble -- which is difficult to believe, considering how much it sounds like Morrison's best folk-rock. But there's a backwoods feel to Lamontagne's songs, like they belong sung from the stage of a dusky West Virginia bar as an acoustic guitar is slowly strummed. This isn't easy to swing, mostly because such soulful confessions of love and redemption usually smack of contrivance. But not so with Lamontagne's compositions: He channels the pain of past poverty, substance abuse and suicidal inclinations into songs of soul-stirring hope with a voice that's equal parts Joe Cocker and Damien Rice.

Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 to $20; call 314-726-6161 for more information.

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