• Album Preview: Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs

    By J. Brown
    Anytime singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne is about to release a new album, it feels a bit like being an impatient kid waiting for Christmas to come early in order to unwrap that one present you’ve been waiting to get your eager hands on for what seems like forever. In my book, LaMontagne is a musician and artist who can do no wrong, and so it is with great anticipation that I (and probably his other devoted fans) await his latest release God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise, which is out on August 17th. This album is a change of pace for LaMontagne, who self-produced the album and recorded it in the span of a week or two with his newly-dubbed band The Pariah Dogs. The album was recorded live in LaMontagne’s barn in Massachusetts with the band, which is comprised of Jay Bellarose (drums), Jennifer Condos (bass), Patrick Warren (keyboard), Eric Heywood (guitar) and Greg Leisz (pedal steel guitar). Judging by the release of the first single, “Beg Borrow or Steal,” the album will deftly mix soul and folk with LaMontagne’s weathered, pained and powerfully moving voice, much like he did on several tracks of his last release, such as “Henry Nearly Killed Me” and “Hey Me, Hey Mama.” You can hear the first single here:

    Beg Steal or Borrow by Ray LaMontagne

    Speaking of his band mates, LaMontagne stated: “These guys are all so good, and I trust their instincts. I just wanted to write songs that I felt would excite them. There was a certain amount of pressure, because they’re so much more accomplished than I am as a musician. But I knew that if I could pull together a batch of songs I was happy with, there was really no risk involved.”

    While undoubtedly many fans will feel it will be hard for LaMontagne to top his earlier work, including his stellar debut “Trouble,” he has proven to be an artist that has shown great flexibility with a range of styles while seemingly managing to never compromise his creative vision. This latest album is not likely to contain the haunting and deeply introspective and far more personal songs found on his first album, but in whatever LaMontagne sings, he always displays a talent for writing and crafting remarkable songs in what I hope will be a long and productive musical career.

    The track listing for the album is as follows:

    1. Repo Man
    2. New York City’s Killing Me
    3. God Willin’ and 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 and Roll & Radio
    10. The Devil’s in the Jukebox

    You can catch LaMontagne on his tour around the States this summer and fall. Here’s a taste of what you’ll see (thanks to the BBC).

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