Tag Archives: Ray Lamontagne

An L of a time

Finally we’ve crawled to the end of the letter L… and all those Lucksmiths albums. It’s been a long arduous journey. We started back on January 1. Forty or so reviews in 6½ months isn’t very impressive is it?  But that did span several countries.  It also spanned the usual diverse range of artists.  Looking at the resultant rankings, it would seem lighter indie pop won out, although soulfulness is as valued as always…

  1. Lemonheads – “It’s a Shame About Ray”
  2. The Lucksmiths – “What Bird Is That?”
  3. The Lucksmiths – “Happy Secret”
  4. Bettye Lavette – “I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise”
  5. The Lucksmiths – “A Good Kind of Nervous”
  6. The Lucksmiths – “Why That Doesn’t Surprise Me
  7. The Lucksmiths – “The Green Bicycle Case”
  8. Bettye Lavette – “The Scene of the Crime”
  9. The La’s – “The La’s”
  10. Love Me – “Love Me”
  11. The Lemonheads – “Come on Feel the Lemonheads”
  12. LCD Soundsystem – “LCD Soundsystem”
  13. The Liquor Giants – “The Liquor Giants”
  14. Ray Lamontagne – “Till the Sun Turns Black”
  15. Led Zeppelin – “Led Zeppelin IV”

As has become tradition, here’s a “L” track that didn’t get a review, but is an old fave of mine:

453. Ray Lamontagne – “Till the Sun Turns Black”

I am a sporadic purchaser and devourer of British ‘serious’ music mags such as Uncut and Mojo.

The former has a habit of gushingly embracing artists, and one of their pet acts a few years back was this guy.  As a result (and on the advice of a travelling buddy), I picked this album up for a pittance in a Vietnamese CD ‘store’ in early 2008.

I forgot I owned it til last week.  It’s had quite a few listens, and paint me impressed.

Ray has a soft, plaintive voice, and emotes like his life depends upon it. It’s all precious, elegant and engaging.  The orchestration (i.e. some strings and the like) makes this feel intimate and well-balanced. It brings to mind the work of the Buckley clan, and also Ryan Adams‘ less histrionic moments.

The closing, title track is an excellent showcase of his combination of restraint and power (by the way, this is a fan-vid – nicely done):

I can imagine a wonderful live event with Lamontagne playing back to back with Martha Wainwright.  I’d love to be lounging and swaying to that.

File under: No need for sun-block