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Ray LaMontagne
Till The Sun Turns Black
RCA Records

Ray LaMontagne's debut record Trouble was hailed by many, including some here at Hybrid Magazine, as an instant classic. The music was solid and filled with probably the finest soul vibe found in any recording over the past twenty years. LaMontagne's newest, Till The Sun Turns Black, is a departure from that classic soulful sound. Instead, on this latest record, Ray turns towards a more introspective sound, revealing more of his personality and intrinsic quirkiness. This album features songwriting that is far superior to that found on Trouble and replaces the classic sound with music of a more refined and timeless quality.

LaMontagne's voice is just as soulful and rich, but the songs have a mellower and easier feeling to them. One listen to the album's opener "Be Here Now" is proof enough of that. The orchestration on Till The Sun Turns Black is elegant and rich, eclipsing the brilliant pop of such contemporaries as Duncan Sheik and Johnathan Rice. "Empty" is a fitting title for a song that hangs so much resigned melancholy on its folds that if you're feeling emotionally vulnerable, you may well end up hanging your head and crying. By the time the soulful and late 60's Motown vibe of "Three More Days" kicks in, the upbeat tempo is a welcome change, even though lyrically LaMontagne remains in a darker mode than on his previous release. The organ and sweet drumming turns this song into one of Ray's instant classics. "Can I Stay" is a deeply personal song that lays tranquil melodies alongside some of the most emotionally charged lyrical phrasing I've heard recently.

Fans of Ray LaMontagne's Trouble will definitely find music they can enjoy on Till The Sun Turns Black… but LaMontagne's songwriting is far more mature, with songs of a much greater depth and personality. "Gone Away From Me" has a very Simon And Garfunkel vibe, steady and strong, while "Lesson Learned" is possibly the most personal song LaMontagne has ever penned.

If you like your songwriting with just the right touch of melancholy, but in a refined and groovy package, then Till The Sun Turns Black is a record for you. The songs won't tend to make you want to get up and shake your moneymaker, but they will soothe your weary soul and let you realize that there is immense beauty amidst all the pain.

-L. Keane

Track Listing:
1. Be Here Now
2. Empty
3. Barfly
4. Three More Days
5. Can I Stay
6. You Can Bring Me Flowers
7. Gone Away From Me
8. Lesson Learned
9. Truly, Madly, Deeply
10. Till The Sun Turns Black
11. Within You

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