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Goin' By Feel

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Album Review

For his sixth album, Canadian singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville went into the studio with producer Gurf Morlix, and it turned out to be an inspired choice. Goin' by Feel has a loose, darkly funky vibe that's an ideal match for Bonneville's rich, blues-influenced guitar work, and the spare but resonant interplay between the guitars and the clanky, rattling percussion beds fits these songs like the proverbial glove. While Goin' by Feel sounds full and satisfying, Bonneville and Morlix have actually pared the arrangements back to the essentials — one cut, "What Katy Did," is just Bonneville and drummer Geoff Arsenault — and the lack of gingerbread makes the songs work all the better, letting Bonneville's guitar leads and strong, smoky vocals take the center stage where they belong. Bonneville has also written a fine batch of tunes for this disc, dotted with telling details and vivid imagery, and "Crow John," "Cemetery Road," and "Carry the Fallen" rank with his personal best, while "I Am the Big Easy" is a tribute to New Orleans that captures the Crescent City's rough and tumble soul without becoming maudlin. Ray Bonneville has been writing fine songs and making good records for some time, but with Goin' by Feel he's made an album with a sound every bit as distinctive as his material, and this deeply atmospheric late-late session captures the man at the top of his form; if you haven't checked him out before, this is a great place to start.


Genre: Blues

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Blues singer, musician, and songwriter Ray Bonneville is a Juno Award winner originally from Canada. Before he reached his teens, his large family moved to the United States; a few years later, when they returned to Canada, Bonneville stayed in the States on his own. He found work as a member in different bands and as a studio musician, playing both the harmonica and guitar. When he discovered being a musician wasn't paying all of the bills, he studied flying and put in enough hours to get his pilot's...
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