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Composer | Guitarist

Ray Montford’s powerful original tunes are characterized by a wild and raw beauty. Often inspired by the human condition, his instrumental compositions paint haunting canvasses that are rich in imagery, leaving an indelible mark on the listener. Blurring boundaries between rock, blues, fusion and folk, his electric work and phrasing are reminiscent of the great British guitarists David Gilmour, Jeff Beck and Mark Knopfler, while his open-tuning acoustic work evoke the sonic landscapes of Michael Hedges and Leo Kottke. But regardless of context, the most striking aspect of Montford’s artistry is that he finds countless ways to convey emotion through his compositions and soulful playing, letting his instrument sing and wringing emotion from every note. In the end, it’s all about taking the listener on an unforgettable journey. 

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 engineerin
g, 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.

As a producer and engineer, Ray operates Anchor Sound, his state-of-the-art studio near Wakefield, Québec, just north of Ottawa, an inspiring space where he can assist other artists with their musical visions and aspirations.  

Discography: 'Vintage Is Now' (2012), 'Live Sessions' (2010), 'A Fragile Balance' (2007), 'Shed Your Skin-10th Anniversary Edition' (1997 - 2007), 'Live Imagery' (2006), 'Many Roads' (2003), 'One Step Closer' (2000), 'The Early Sessions' (1991-2004).  

"The ever-tasteful musician has a gift for grand musical moments that retain their intimacy... an atmospheric, emotional road well worth travelling."
- 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."
- Ottawa Sun 


photo by Cam Maclennan