Archive for god willin’ & the creek don’t rise album

RAY LAMONTAGNE and the PARIAH DOGS – “GOD WILLIN’ & THE CREEK DON’T RISE” CAPTURES STORYTELLING THROUGH SONG

Posted in classic rock, folk rock music, metal odyssey, Music, music reviews, rock music, rock music news, rock music reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 26, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

RAY LAMONTAGNE and the PARIAH DOGS – If music is the soul of mankind and a man needs to mellow out his soul, then Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs are a band to drift off to. With that said, anyone who really knows Stone, realizes that besides being a Metalhead-Rockaholic, I’m also an admirer of quality music of any genre. Doesn’t the word “genre” come across as intellectual sometimes? It is a “must” word to use when you have a blog about… music. I’ve never been bashful to use this word, Metal be thy name. Well… onward to Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs album – God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise.

There are those moments in my life where I turn to some good old fashioned Easy Listening music to chill out my senses. Why do I need to “chill out my senses”? Really, I don’t have a clinical answer for this, other than soothing sounds of music and vocals can relax me and make me look at my life from a different angle. The vocals of Ray LaMontagne I find to be somewhat captivating, it’s almost as if he sings the way he damn well feels and never gave a damn about trying to fit in with any specific group of contemporary male vocalists.

Besides being the vocalist for his band The Pariah Dogs on this album, Ray LaMontagne also plays acoustic guitar and harmonica. The acoustic guitar can justifiably emit as distinct and powerful a message through it’s tone as it’s muscular counterpart… the electric guitar. Soft Rock or as it’s also called, Easy Listening, has always benefited from the mellow side of an acoustic guitar. Folk Rock’s foundation is centered around the acoustic guitar and this new Ray LaMontagne album exploits the easy listening sound of Folk Rock to it’s ultimate potential. Ray’s vocals and the acoustic guitar are like soul mates to one another, the combination of the two brings about reflections of what the song is conveying lyrically as well as emotionally.

As I listen to New York City’s Killing Me, the mental imagery of the New York City sky-scape stays with me. I see the subway, crowded streets and Summer time smog as Ray sings about how this city is killing him. I love New York City myself, still I can understand how some visitors to The Big Apple could easily not become acquainted with it’s social pace and maximized energy. God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise has a Pedal Steel played by both Eric Heywood and Greg Leisz, it’s a sound that just hits me perfectly. I just seem to experience that “open country field” feeling while listening to this song, the Pedal Steel only helps to interpret this all the more for me.

Beg Steal Or Borrow is as blatantly fabulous of a song as there could be on this album. The tempo, beat and totality of sound resonating from The Pariah Dogs reminds me of an early ’70’s Fleetwood Mac. I can easily understand there being some Fleetwood Mac influence within the musical veins of Ray LaMontagne or any of his band members.

Are We Really Through is a somber ballad that is about… breaking up with someone. Ray’s vocals on this sad sounding song has an unbelievable Joe Cocker quality. Trust me, Ray LaMontagne is no copycat vocalist to my ears. Just think for a second as to how difficult it would be, to even try to sing like the legendary Joe Cocker. The vocals of Ray LaMontagne spill over these songs, as natural and free as a waterfall spilling over moss covered river stone. Often times, the word “unique” is overused, therefore, I shall state Ray’s vocals are stunningly unique.

To think that maybe Ray LaMontagne is a fan of Neil Young’s Harvest album is a credible thought. The mellowfied Country Rock that sticks it’s happy face out during this album during such songs as Old Before Your Time and For The Summer, comes as a welcomed listen for my retrospective ears and thoughts. These two songs would have been a smash for AM radio back in those satin days of the ’70’s. The interesting aspect of Old Before Your Time and For The Summer is that they are realistically relevant now.

Like Rock & Roll And Radio opens with Ray playing the harmonica, setting the stage for what I would consider his best vocals on this album. Ray is a storyteller and he tells stories through his songs like he has been doing this for decades. There are moments when I have to look at the liner notes of God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise, look at the photos of Ray and make sure he’s not a legend from the early ’70’s.

Devil’s In The Jukebox is a glistening finish to an album that was already glistening. The back country woods sound, feel and foot stompin’ character to this song makes it a prize worth listening to repeatedly, making me wish this song would just carry on for another five minutes or more. It’s quite obvious that Ray LaMontagne has a skilled band of musicians behind him. The Pariah Dogs compliment Ray’s vocals as if it was meant to be and it was written to happen this way, hundreds of years ago, on a scroll.

Not to sound as a wise guy here, yet as I listen to God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise, the feeling that overrides me from these ten songs are that of AM gold. These songs, practically this entire album is one big hit. If I am to point out one song that doesn’t “do it” for me, it’s Are We Really Through. Regardless of how I feel, this sad song might just touch someone differently with it’s meaning. These are the songs that I don’t mind hearing while taking a long ride in the country or while reading a good book. To listen to this album while sitting on my back patio and staring up at the blue Summer sky, while looking over my gardens and enjoying a couple of cold brews, is on my to-do list.

* God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise was released on August 17, 2010, on RCA. This album is the fourth studio release for Ray LaMontagne and first album being named alongside his band The Pariah Dogs.

* For more info on Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs, just click the link below:

Ray LaMontagne – Official Website

Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs:

Ray LaMontagne – vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica

Eric Heywood – pedal steel, electric guitar, acoustic guitar

Greg Leisz – pedal steel, lap steel, acoustic resonator, steel guitar, mandola, banjo, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, electric baritone guitar

Jennifer Condos – bass

Jay Bellerose – drums

Ryan Freeland – accordion on For The Summer

Patrick Warren – keyboards on This Love Is Over

Track Listing For God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise:

Repo Man

New York City’s Killing Me

God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise

Beg Steal Or Borrow

Are We Really Through

This Love Is Over

Old Before Your Time

For The Summer

Like Rock & Roll And Radio

Devil’s In The Jukebox

Stone.

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