Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs: God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise
Ray LaMontagne’s idiosyncratic rasp is back and this time it’s wearing a cowboy hat. He is joined on his new album, God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise, by backing band The Pariah Dogs and the sound is a slight departure from his previous work although the soulful songs of love and loss remain.
The album certainly has its share of radio and television friendly tracks such as the first single “Beg Steal Or Borrow” which is the standout song and will likely find its way soon to a dramatic sitcom montage. At first listen the song almost sounds like Tracy Chapman doing country but it’s a solid track with interesting melodic turns and the laid back country sound fits LaMontagne’s vocals perfectly. There are a number of other good tracks on the album such as the opener, “Repo Man,” with its funky intro and upbeat pace, “For The Summer” with its sorrowful romantic tone, and “Devil’s In The Jukebox” which has an old school feel to it. “Old Before Your Time” is another good track but it’s a little too close to the Eagles “Peaceful, Easy, Feeling” at times.
The problem with the album is just its lack of diversity in pacing and melody as is the case with many a mellow singer/songwriters these days (aka too much of the same thing). The album is good but not innovative and is often a bit too reminiscent of classic musicians like Joe Cocker and Neil Young.