Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

RAY LA MONTAGNE

Gossip in the Grain

2008-10-16

It was only ten years ago that Ray La Montagne was working in a shoe factory with little to no money to spare. Now, La Montagne has just released his much anticipated third recording titled "Gossip in the Grain," and the anticipation was well-worth the wait. With his touring band in on the recording this time through, La Montagne introduces a myriad of musical traditions throughout - from the front-porch country sounding Hey Me, Hey Mama to the lush balladry of the beautiful I Still Care for You. Making the latter even better are the backing vocals provided by singer/songwriter Leona Naess who also lends her talents to the track A Falling Through. The album opens up with the horn-driven You are the Best Thing--a song that would fit in well in the late 60's as a worthy follow up to Van Morrison's acclaimed Brown Eyed Girl. Perhaps the song that exhibits the most fun is the tribute song Meg White. Apparently, La Montagne has a level of fascination and/or sympathy for the other half of the White Stripes duo. Either way, the song is fun and gives us further evidence of the range and talent of the singer/songwriter. Interestingly, while often characterized as an American Folk singer, only two tracks really fit this genre here. The earthy and slightly veiled Winter Birds is a pleasant albeit long listen while title track is equally edifying, showcasing a variety of stringed instruments as they gradually build to a beautiful crescendo and ending to the entire 10 song set. Overall, there really are no weak songs here as La Montagne and his producer Ethan Johns have come up with a composition of music that is emotionally expansive and that leaves the listener wanting to hear it all over again. ~ Reviewed by Jeff Bouma

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.