Equal parts folkie troubadour and blue-eyed soul crooner, singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne stands almost completely still when he performs, usually maintaining a gentle, lilting volume. He can, however, make his crystalline voice soar. When he pushes the volume even a little bit, he marshals explosive energy without ever going over the top. With this delicate approach, LaMontagne achieves intensity levels that have been scaled only by the likes of Joni Mitchell and Tracy Chapman — icons who have managed to turn vulnerability into power. With his just-released album, Gossip in the Grain, LaMontagne earns his place beside them.