Review: Ray LaMontagne, ‘God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise’

Review: Ray LaMontagne, ‘God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise’: Aidin Vaziri | Recorded live in just a week at his barn house in the woods of western Massachusetts, Ray LaMontagne’s fourth album finds the reclusive singer-songwriter sounding a bit like, well, an extrovert. Maybe it has something to do with his pickup band, the Pariah Dogs – an ensemble of studio veterans who have previously worked with Beck, Tom Waits and Ryan Adams. They provide LaMontagne’s searching songs with a warm western vibe as the Grammy-nominated vocalist lays his rough-hewn rasp over pedal-steel guitars and gently shuffling rhythms. It lacks the ghostly appeal of his first two albums, which were largely solo affairs. There are also few traces of the endearing R&B influence that permeated his previous CD, “Gossip in the Grain.” But on songs here, such as “New York City’s Killing Me” and “This Love Is Over,” LaMontagne sounds remarkably relaxed (and occasionally rowdy), which, in a way, is a major accomplishment in and of itself.

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