Review Summary: Ray returns with another great effort. His album may not take many risks, his well written songs will please many listeners and his fanbase.
Ray LaMontagne returns with his best work yet in Gossip In The Grain. His sound has not changed much. His voice is as soulful and passionate as ever. His lyrics are still deep and sincere. The difference this time around is working with Ethan Johns (U2, The Wallflowers, Ryan Adams). Ethan introduces more instruments into the album to enhance Ray’s already well written songs.
The album starts off with one of his best songs, You Are The Best Thing. Sounding like a 60’s soul song with horns and female backing vocals, Ray sounds at his best. Let It Be Me slows things down with what Ray is great at, well written slow songs. The song does not stray from what he is known for and makes for a good song his fanbase will enjoy. The title of most beautifully crafted song belongs to Sarah. Once again the addition of strings and strumming of his guitar will please those fans who believe he sounds like Nick Drake. For fans of Nick Drake and Ray this maybe a good song to check out.
Another stand out song is Meg White. Listeners who aren’t familiar with Ray may wonder why he wrote this song about Meg. They are both very shy and private people. With Meg recently stating she suffers anxiety attacks and questions whether she will perform live again with The White Stripes, it seems like the two have something in common (Ray being known for not talking to his live audience during performances and rarely giving interviews). The song goes through Ray being impressed with Meg and how Jack maybe the front man but Meg always steals the show. Not trying to over analyze the meaning of the song, the song goes along with Meg’s ‘trademark’ drum beat and offer of friendship. It’s another great sincere song that becomes another must listen.
The album is another great step for Ray. His strong writing is stronger than ever and will continue to grow. Fans of his first two albums will find plenty of great songs to please them. The album won’t win over millions of new fans but he will continue to gain popularity as he always has, slowly and surely. With his unique voice being able to carry him through slow songs or fast songs, Ray is a powerful musician who has not even reached his prime.
You Are The Best Thing
Let It Be Me