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Ray LaMontagne
RCA Records

Every once in a great while, a record comes along that contains all of the ingredients to make it an instant classic. Ray LaMontagne's new release Trouble is one such record. Hearing one of these songs on the radio, one is sure to recognize the instantly accessible sound, the righteous vocals, and the truly great musicality. But the truly great experience comes when listening to the full record, song after song of blissful melody and easy rhythm. From the album opener "Trouble" through to the closing notes of "All The Wild Horses", Trouble is packed with the kind of rock music that wraps itself calmly around your heart and squeezes, instilling warmth and a peaceful sense of well-being. The songs tend to be a bit downbeat, similar in cast to the archetypal Van Morrison Tupelo Honey-era. Lush string accompaniments fill out the slow-down of songs like "Shelter", creating a memorable and calming resting place amidst the daily storms of life. A little bit of Bob Dylan's spirit breaks loose on "Narrow Escape", all acoustic guitars, howling harmonicas, and gruff vocals. "Burn" has an airy and complex quality that recalls the early years of David Gray, while maintaining a more vintage-era rock-folk tone. Perfect acoustic guitars provide the main rhythms and add a glorious spiritual uplift on "Forever My Friend". Turning on the lo-fi yet clean on "All The Wild Horses", LaMontagne leaves the heart with a sense of complete fulfillment, yet also a longing for more.

The songwriting on Trouble is incredible, showing the world that Ray LaMontagne is no flash in the pan. The lyrics are filled with a mysterious depth and heart-wrenching honesty that is amplified with LaMontagne's forthright delivery. This is not a record for background listening, although it would play the part well, but is more suited to periods of calm meditation and introspection.

-L. Keane

Track Listing:
1. Trouble
2. Shelter
3. Hold You In My Arms
4. Narrow Escape
5. Burn
6. Forever My Friend
7. Hannah
8. How Come
9. Jolene
10. All The Wild Horses

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