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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