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Trouble

Ray LaMontagne

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Album Review

The best songs on Trouble, the debut release from songwriter Ray LaMontagne, draw on deep wells of emotion, and with LaMontagne's sandpapery voice, which recalls a gruffer, more sedate version of Tim Buckley or an American version of Van Morrison, they seem to belie his years. The title tune, "Trouble," is an instant classic, sparse and maudlin (in the best sense), and songs like "Narrow Escape," a ragged, episodic waltz, are equally impressive, with careful, cinematic lyrics that tell believable stories of wounded-hearted refugees on the hard road of life and love. Most of the tracks fall into a midtempo shuffle rhythm, so the words have to carry a lot in order to avert a sort of dull sameness, and when it works, it works big, and when it doesn't, well, LaMontagne is so serious and sincere about his craft that you tend to forgive him instantly. Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek guests on "Hannah" and the sad, somber lullaby "All the Wild Horses," playing fiddle and adding vocals, and producer Ethan Johns adds drums and other touches on most tracks. The sound is measured and sparse, with few frills (a five-piece string section is used on a few tracks, but is never intrusive), all of which supports the emotional urgency of LaMontagne's writing. "How Come" sounds a bit like a rewrite of Dave Mason's "Feelin' Alright," and a couple of other cuts seem a bit labored, but overall this is an impressive debut by an extremely special songwriter.

Customer Reviews

Incredible

Just listening to this album, when it first came out, it immediately shot into my top-10 ALL-Time Favorite albums. One reviewer from CBS Sunday Morning so brilliantly put it, "If this album had come out in 1974 instead of 2004 Ray may be bigger than Elton John and Billy Joel combined" Paraphrasing, of course, and I LOVE Those artists, as well, but it's TRUE!

I will never understand!!!!

How this album could never have produced a top ten hit, or won any awards, OR how it only has four stars. It simply baffles me that people will pay money for, and continue to buy some of the garbage that is out there today and a supremely wonderful artist like Ray, and this album can go unnoticed and unappreciated. That being said, this is truly my desert island album. It has and will probably always have the ability to affect me on a level that non other can. The great ones are just never really "gotten" in their own time. This album blows everything that has been made in the last five years completely out of the water! If you are new to Ray, start with Trouble, then get "Till the sun and then Gossip in the Grain.......but start with this one, it really lays the foundation for becoming a rabid Ray fan, such as myself! All of the songs are amazing, but my favorites are "Hannah", "Hold you in my arms", "Shelter" and "Jolene"

I CAN'T BELIEVE...

that there are only a few reviews for this album. This is an amazing collection of songs, solid all of the way through. Any self respecting music fan should have this in their collection.

Biography

Born: June 18, 1973 in Nashua, NH

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

With a voice that recalls a huskier, sandpapery version of Van Morrison and Tim Buckley, Ray LaMontagne joins such artists as Iron & Wine in creating folk songs that are alternately lush and intimately earthy. The songwriter was born in Nashua, New Hampshire in 1973; his parents split up shortly after his birth, and his mother began a pattern of moving her six children to any locale that could offer her employment and housing. As a result, LaMontagne grew up as the perennial new kid in school...
Full Bio
Trouble, Ray LaMontagne
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