Ray LaMontagne – Gossip In The Grain

Gossip In The Grain is the third album released by singer/songwriter/bearded wonder Ray LaMontagne, produced by Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Kings Of Leon, Rufus Wainwright). I can’t think of any other way to describe this album except with terms like “southern”, “blues”, and “soulful” but I started to doubt my descriptions when I found out he’s actually a northerner.

You Are The Best Thing is fun and upbeat and establishes a unique tone for the rest of the album with the use of a horn section and funky base line reminiscent of Marvin Gaye.

Let It Be Me is one of my favorite tracks even though it’s pretty chill he puts a lot of feeling into it…

Sarah is probably my least favorite track, but it still gets’ three out of five stars so don’t assume the worst of it.

I Still Care For You and Winter Birds are both classic mellow Ray LaMontagne tracks and are great a great ‘rainy day’ tracks. I’d even go so far as to say that some of the guitar parts and melodies in these two are slightly Denison Whitmer-esque…

The next track is “Meg White”. And yes, it is about Meg White from the White Stripes… I like it, but it’s odd to actually sing about a current musician. I wonder what she thinks of the track?

Hey Me, Hey Mama is some good ol’ down south jammin’ with it’s classic bass line and banjo. If you don’t think there’s a difference between country and southern then please listen to this and note the difference… because there most assuredly is one, a very big one.

Henry Nearly Killed Me – Ray really goes soulful and raspy with his voice on this one and I think it’s positively delicious. Deep southern magic I tell ya… like ZZ Top with vintage tones.

A Falling Through is beautiful with the subtle steel guitar and soft lilting harmonies of Leona Naess. And just about on the same level as Let It Be Me as far as lyric sentiment.

The title track “Gossip In The Grain” is once again a pretty mellow track but I love the string parts and fairly prominent upright bass part.

Empty and be Here Now are the two live tracks included on the album and make me want to go see him play live every time I hear them… I’ve yet to do so but I die a little inside each time he’s in town and I fail to be able to go to the show.

Roses And Cigarettes – Just another song that solidifies my opinion that while cigarettes are bad in your lungs, they’re great in songs… I don’t know why but there’s always something poetic about their imagery. On a side note: I would love to hear Ray and Ryan Adams sing this one together, mmm yeah.

Achin’ All The Time and Trouble finish out the album with more of the same tasty soulfulness, combined with his signature earthy rasp, that ties the album together…

If you like Ryan Adams, Rocky Votolato, Denison Witmer, or some of the old timers like Marvin Gaye, or Sam Cooke then you’ll love Ray LaMontagne. Well worth the mullah!


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Categories: Music Review

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