view from the hill

A look at the elements and events that come into view from where I'm standing...
... the stuff that matters in this life. Some flicker and are gone in a matter of hours
only to live in memory, others become life long travelling companions, never far from reach.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Ray Lamontaigne

Just picked up a copy of Trouble, the debut album by singer/songwriter Ray Lamontaigne. I came across his set late at night on Austin City Limits last week, and was quietly captivated. Talk about a focusing moment! All distractions dropped away and an authentic American voice sang out in his whispery raspy gentle authenticity. This guy is the real deal.

troubleHis songs are quiet gems. Songs that remind me of the best of Cat Stevens or Van Morrison. Songs that could be sung by the gentle voices of the Be Good Tanyas. He sings, to barrow a phrase, of “wine, women and county jails.” There’s true tenderness here. I want to meet the people he sings about because they’re so real. His song, Narrow Escape could be a parallel telling to the Grateful Dead’s Friend of the Devil.

The whispery lyrics are given added backbone by a stand-up bass and drums that sound wonderfully like a summer thunderstorm far on the horizon. These are songs that would be equally at home in a smoky bar room, or in the back of a cross-country bus, or an evening lawn with fireflies in the trees.

Lamontaigne is a quiet soul who somehow has managed to negotiate the rigors and pitfalls of a sometimes soul-bruising industry to release a beautiful album of sweet personality.

Pour yourself a glass, turn down the lights and float along for the ride.

Check it out here