Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs: God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise


Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs
God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise
(Stone Dwarf)

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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.

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Tim Needles is an artist, photographer, humorist, and writer from Long Island, NY. His writing and art work has been seen in multiple exhibitions and publications around New York as well as the Photographer’s Forum, French Photo, the New York Times, and LI Pulse magazine. He is also an educator and currently teaches art and film at Smithtown, NY and as an Education Leader for Adobe. He was recently the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Award in Washington DC and serves as the director of Strictly Students, a non-for-profit group for media and education. His work can be seen on his website: www.timneedles.com


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