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Old 08-27-2010, 08:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Ray Lamontagne - God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise

“God Willing & The Creek Don't Rise”, is the title of the newest album by Ray Lamontagne. Backed by his studio band, dubbed The Pariah Dogs, Lamontagne has created an album that deserves attention. Nicely enough for those of us who still use record players, this album has also been released on vinyl (and they were nice enough to throw in a free mp3 version with the vinyl purchase).

The album begins with Repo Man, a lesson in groovy blues with the flavour of Stevie Ray Vaughan thrown into the mix. Definitely one of the better songs on the album, Repo Man is the perfect song to accompany Lamontagne's raspy voice. It's quick, it's got kick, and it's the perfect opener for the album.

'New York City's Killing Me' is a contrast to the preceding song. Ray slows it down here with a heartfelt tune about feeling out of place, or rather a song about being stuck in a place he doesn't belong, or doesn't want to be, longing for change and freedom. Unfortunately, it brought me down, way down from the high I got from 'Repo Man'. It's almost too much of a jolt to enjoy it.

Track three, which shares it's name with the album itself, feels even slower. The tempo, the raspy voice; it almost feels like I'm back in the 80's with a Bob Seger tune playing on the radio. This trend toward slow songs with a lilting, depressing feel become the albums weak points.

The fourth track, Beg Steal or Borrow, is the only song I've heard on the radio from this album. Someone purchasing the album based solely on this song may find themselves wishing for more tracks of this calibre on the disc. Fortunately this one speeds it up a little bit, something much needed on this album. Beg Steal or Borrow has a country/folk sound to it, and along with Repo Man, it is one of my favourites.

I've listened to this album a handful of times now, and I find myself often skipping tracks simply because they are so slow and lacklustre. It feels like Lamontagne was in a sad sad place when he wrote these songs, and he wanted us to be right there with him. I just can't sit through songs like 'Are We Really Through', and 'This Love is Over' because it feels like they're trying to pull me down into a place I don't want to be. A place of despair that doesn't do me any good at all. These songs aren't bad, but I'd definitely have to be in a low and reflectively silent mood to enjoy them.

Old Before Your Time picks it up again, starting out with a plucking banjo and a simple beat and nice clear, defined guitar work. It's one of those songs that you tap your foot along to, and makes you feel fairly good about life. Again, his raspy voice works very well here, creating a picture of an experienced man singing the wisdom learned through life's hard lessons.

The last tune on the album, The Devil's in the Jukebox, is a song with depth. Backed by a beat, rhythm guitar, and harmonica that actually sound somehow further away than the vocals, this song puts you right into the middle of the band. It feels more like a group of pals playing music out in a field by the light of a campfire, a little unpolished, and a whole lot of real feeling.

God Willing & The Creek Don't Rise is a good album. It's worth a listen if you enjoy folksy/bluesy music, but the momentum of the album is definitely a drawback for me. Overall, it simply seems plagued by depression. For this reason, the album is definitely not useful as background music. When used as background music, all the slow songs seem to drag together, creating the feel of one very long and whiny episode.

The album gets a 3 out of 5, though I wish I could give it a higher rating because Ray seems like a likeable, down to earth sort of guy.


Release date: August 17th, 2010

Track Listing:
1. Repo Man
2. New York City's Killing Me
3. God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise
4. Beg Steal or Borrow
5. Are We Really Through
6. This Love is Over
7. Old Before Your Time
8. For the Summer
9. Like Rock & Roll Radio
10. The Devil's in the Jukebox

Last edited by AudioDog; 08-27-2010 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 08-27-2010, 10:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You seem to have an obsession with speed. Do you think you might hate this album more than you should because of tempo alone? Everyone I've spoken to so far has had really good things to say about him and the album (and the David Gray for that matter but thats neither here nor there).
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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No, I'm not a speed junkie at all. I enjoy David Gray, actually, and he certainly does have a lot of slow songs. And this was a good album, but I found that it became bogged down. Like a good book, even during the slow parts, the reader should feel compelled to forge on to see what happens next. It should be true of music as well... even the slow parts should hold my attention. Perhaps if the songs were in a different order so that I didn't have to sit through three sad, depressing songs in a row at times, maybe it would've fared better in my opinion. Still, I would suggest that anyone who enjoys folksy/bluesy music should give this album a listen, because my opinion can't possibly reflect everyone's tastes.
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Fair play.

I like your style, Mr. Dog. I hope you stick around.
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Ive only just recently in last few months gotten into Ray Lamontagne...I'll give this a listen for sure though.
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I should warn you that copy & pasting reviews written for blogs is not allowed.
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Even if it's my blog? I shouldn't be stripped of the right to post my own review in more than one place.
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes

This is for forum members to post their reviews, not for bloggers who've just joined to post theirs to get more hits for their blogs.
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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From the 'rules' section:
"MusicBanter does not tolerate plagiarism of material including but not limited to album reviews, blog entries and wikipedia articles. If you wish to use this material on MB, it must be referenced."

It is not plagiarism if it's from my own blog. I've removed my 'website advertising' from my signature.

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Old 08-27-2010, 12:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yes but you are ONLY posting stuff from your blog, that's the difference.

We don't want people filling up the forum with reviews from other sites regardless of who wrote them.
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