10 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With a professional alt-country backing group behind him, credited as the Pariah Dogs, Ray LaMontagne might be expected to rock it out a bit more on his fourth studio album, 2010’s God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise. And for a few cuts --  “Repo Man,” “Devil’s In the Jukebox — drummer Jay Bellerose and bassist Jennifer Condos lead LaMontagne to huskier, friskier terrain. But the introspective singer-songwriter doesn’t like to settle with too much commotion. Greg Leisz steps up on pedal steel for the world-weary “New York City’s Killing Me” and you can imagine the skidmarks in the road as LaMontagne floors it back to his country home. He’s at his best when his voice is given the most room to breathe. The old-time country melody behind “Old Before Your Time,” the whispered desperation behind the exquisite “Like Rock & Roll and Radio” and the somber finality of “This Love Is Over” make LaMontagne a broken soul singer who’s got Jesse Winchester and Van Morrison on his mind. With so many fine albums to his name, it’s difficult to declare any album his best, but LaMontagne’s holding his own, if not getting better all the time.

EDITORS’ NOTES

With a professional alt-country backing group behind him, credited as the Pariah Dogs, Ray LaMontagne might be expected to rock it out a bit more on his fourth studio album, 2010’s God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise. And for a few cuts --  “Repo Man,” “Devil’s In the Jukebox — drummer Jay Bellerose and bassist Jennifer Condos lead LaMontagne to huskier, friskier terrain. But the introspective singer-songwriter doesn’t like to settle with too much commotion. Greg Leisz steps up on pedal steel for the world-weary “New York City’s Killing Me” and you can imagine the skidmarks in the road as LaMontagne floors it back to his country home. He’s at his best when his voice is given the most room to breathe. The old-time country melody behind “Old Before Your Time,” the whispered desperation behind the exquisite “Like Rock & Roll and Radio” and the somber finality of “This Love Is Over” make LaMontagne a broken soul singer who’s got Jesse Winchester and Van Morrison on his mind. With so many fine albums to his name, it’s difficult to declare any album his best, but LaMontagne’s holding his own, if not getting better all the time.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5
760 Ratings

760 Ratings

notjustanyLenny ,

Gritty, raw and poignant

As usual, Ray does not disappoint. Streaming this record all week on NPR, I have enjoyed the journey of this record from start to finish. Ray seems to be able to craft each lyric and phrase to convey poignant thoughts and exploring commonality of life experiences. This record opens with the surprisingly aggressive Repo Man - a sharp statement of his view of relationships - and journeys beautifully through themes of loss, life and love. Some records you feel better for just hearing. Everything by Ray has done just that for me. And this, like every other offering by Ray, is no exception. Buy this record. You'll be glad you did.

FrazzledRazz ,

AMAZING

You would think that by an artist's fourth album their material might seem tired or stale, but this album holds its own among LaMontagne's previous stellar works. I can't get enough of his music... the words and melodies he creates holds a truth that very few musical acts can genuinely deliver.

GuitarAddict247 ,

One of the best albums of the year.

This is one of the best albums this year; perhaps my favorite. Ray and the Pariah Dogs came with their guns loaded. Ray digs deep with clever lyrics, and a sound that is as rich as the American soil he sings so sincerely about. Songs like "New York City's Killing Me" "Beg Steal or Borrow" and "Old Before Your Time" carry a sound that can resonate with just about anyone, they're timeless. "Repo Man" starts the album with a soulful kick, "Devil's In The Jukebox" sends the listener off stomping their feet, and "This Love Is Over" brings a jazzy feel to this mostly country album. Ray's classic passion comes through beautifully in "Like Rock & Roll and Radio" which brings memories of songs like "Hannah" and "Jolene." These Pariah Dogs are no outcasts and its to our benefit Ray found them. Any music lover can find something to appreciate about this album; and its a must have if you've ever liked any of Ray's music. Oh, and did I mention "God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise" is an instant classic?

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