There’s a tenderness, almost a loneliness or desperation I haven’t heard in Ray LaMontagne’s voice that seems much more apparent in his latest album than in anything he’s released previously. There’s a great following for Ray, but until this album I was not on it. Oh, don’t get me wrong he had a song here & there & his talent is unmistakable, but there was just something there that I couldn’t grasp. With God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise what you have is subtle perfection. It blows me away & I run back to listen to his old stuff that I have to see if I was wrong.
I still don’t think I am. It may have to do with giving his touring band, The Pariah Dogs, partial credit on the album. Steel pedal guitars & banjos & LaMontagne goes from the shy, soulful singer that we all expect him to be to a perfectly pitched country singer.
Get so tired of all this concrete
I guess I’m tired of all this noise
Got to get back up in the country
Have a couple drinks with the good ol’ boys.
That’s not normal talk for the Boston born singer, but it all seems so natural. It sounds so heartfelt & effortless that you wonder why he hasn’t gone this route previously. This summer is proving to be an amazing one for music with Arcade Fire, Ray & next week’s highly anticipated release of Fitz & the Tantrum’s latest album, Pickin’ Up the Pieces. There has been a lull in music for awhile with the recent pop explosion seems to garner all the music headlines, but this summer seems to be changing the rules. It isn’t like this every year. Oh sure, great albums are released every year, but this summer has truly opened my eyes to people I ever thought I’d be on board for.
I feel the same way Ray does about the city about the country. I miss the city with an undying passion. I’ve been corrupted by it. It’s jaded me & turned me into something of an anomaly in the country. I’m utterly bored at nearly all times outside of the city. To me that noise you hear constantly in the city is a welcome return to reality. Back to Ray, though, this album is his finest achievement. To turn someone who wouldn’t have listened had it not been for his album being up on NPR, into a fan or at least a fan of his latest album, is a monumental achievement.
I try hard to be open minded, but let’s be honest we like what we like & opening that gap has to be difficult. There has to be a special connection with the music or something that catches your ear & your guard drops just enough to realize you’re in the midst of that thing that soothes savage beasts. It’s that ethereal thing that you don’t why or how you love it, but you just do. It’s funny how music speaks to some & not to others. I couldn’t imagine a life without music. I use this blog as my outlet because it is such an all consuming feeling I get when I hear something that speaks to me. It engulfs me like a fire & there is an almost spiritual affect it has on my soul.
Is there anything better than smoking a joint, putting on some headphones, laying back & just listening to the music? It’s something like that that reminds you of how great life can be. Without being pretentious there is a sense of sorrow I feel for those who cannot feel that connection to music. They just don’t get it & it really pains me to know that people can go through life & just not feel anything when they hear something so beautiful that it stands through time as a pillar of an era. Music does that. Ray LaMontagne is yours he’ll never grow old.
New York is Killing Me – Ray LaMontagne
Old Before your Time – Ray LaMontagne