Review Summary: Ray LaMontagne creates absolutely outstanding singer songwriter music, and his warm voice and complex song arrangements only add to the brilliance.
Ray LaMontagne is totally brilliant. Sure, that statement has been said about a number of artists, most of whom end up finding their misguided, over-hyped way onto a Spin Magazine “Overrated Artist” or “What Happened To Them"” list eventually. But Ray has the factor of staying power, something many of his “brilliant” contemporaries can only dream of. Two albums with no filler, along with the fact that just about every song on those two albums is incredibly well-written, make Ray LaMontagne a standout in the current singer-songwriter scene.
His cigarette and whiskey tinged, somewhat raspy voice has a timeless quality that would allow it to fit into any era of music past. Add to his beautiful voice a rhythmically strummed acoustic guitar, haunting string parts, and an occasional piano flourish and you have the instrument layout for almost every song on Ray LaMontagne’s first album, Trouble
. However, on Till The Sun Turns Black
, Ray adds punchy horns to the bluesier numbers, creating the perfect balance between normal and relaxed folk music and all out blues rawk.
and Till The Sun Turns Black
, Ray must have taken some songwriting enhancing pills or something, because there is a massive leap forward in quality from the first album to this one in terms of writing ability. The impressive thing is that the songs on Trouble
were already complex yet memorable, and very difficult to top. On Till The Sun Turns Black
, Ray builds on the what now seem like primitive and archaic song ground works that were found on Trouble
with a greater emphasis on beautiful strings and instruments other than his acoustic guitar. The results are orchestrated, beautifully arranged soundscapes that are based on an acoustic chord progression.
If you’ve heard the almost perfect Trouble
and thought that Ray couldn’t get any better, pick up Till The Sun Turns Black
for blatant proof that he can improve. If you’ve never heard Ray and are in the mood for some heartfelt, absolutely remarkable singer-songwriterish folk music, then there is no better place to start than the immediately likeable, musically outstanding Till The Sun Turns Black
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