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RAY LAMONTAGNE Gossip In The Grain (2008)

Ray Lamontagne

Ray Lamontagne has found his wave and is riding it. And I think that's a smart move. With his two previous albums Trouble and Till The Sun Turns Black Ray - which were largely solo affairs with Ethan Johns doubling up as producer and multi instrumentalist - Ray has built up a considerable reputation and following and is now averaging an album a year.

But he's not your conventional singer-songwriter - shying away from the mainstream in favour of carefully crafted works in his inimitable breathy style. It's a combination that has won him many plaudits and it makes sense to build on that momentum. Leaving years between releases could easily find his find his fan base taking their pleasures elsewhere.

Gossip In The Grain finds Ethan Johns returning as producer and to the drum stool, but this time around members of Ray's touring band bassist Jennifer Condos and guitarist Eric Heywood join the studio crew. And alongside his band he is joined by singer songwriter Leona Naess on A Falling Through and I Still Care For You.

The album, as usual, is beautifully crafted, played and produced touching a range of folk, blues and country genres. Ray's distinctive vocals are well up in the mix and its another classy outing. It may not serve to win over legions of new fans, but it will certainly satiate those who have already fallen for his melodic and artistic charms.

***

Review by Pete Whalley


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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