11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2008
Been waiting to take delivery for a while...and was hoping that it would live up to all the reviews - it arrived...and yes - a masterpiece - possibly his best album yet and that says alot! Ray does it again - no end to this guys talent!! Highly recommended!Owen
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2008
What an absolutely magnificent release this is.From the soulful,upbeat strut of the opener "You Are The Best Thing" all the way to the hushed beauty of the title track which closes proceedings , Ray and his cohorts simply never put a foot wrong.It is ,i believe, a modern classic and a firm contender for Album Of The Year .
I came to this release with no knowledge of this guy's previous work , i'd heard his name and read about him but never got around to checking out his music. I cannot therefore tell you how this new work compares to previous releases , what i can tell you , without doubt , is that this is a CD i've been playing constantly for the past 3 or 4 weeks now and i've never got bored yet , in fact it just seems to get better every time i play the damn thing !
Maybe that's because these songs do not , for the most part ,hit you instantly.Instead they just sort of creep up on you unawares and work their way , subtly, under your skin .They just keep dragging you back and before you realise , you're hooked.
At the moment my very favourite has to be the achingly beautiful "Winter Birds" but i think every track on here has been my fave at some point , that's how good it is.
I haven't dwelt to much here on the merits of individual songs but that's because i feel that the overall quality is such that it's a work which should be heard in it's entirety.Lots of times in fact .
If you like magnificent,heartfelt music and songs sung with real passion and emotion then you simply must get this . It's superb .
Right , time to order his first two albums now i suppose.........
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2008
Like many great albums this is a grower. You'll think you know what your favourites are but you'll listen again and other songs will emerge as magic. Trouble was heartfelt whilst retaining catchiness. TTSTB was dark, epic and moving. `Gossip' is all of those things and so much more. Here Ray shows what he is capable of in Genres from Soul to Country to Folk to Foot Stompin' Blues and back to gut wrenching Soul. This is a man that LISTENS to music. Lots of music and absorbs it like a sponge.
The single (You are the best...) is just pure STAX soul. Let It Be Me takes us back to classic Ray indicative of `Shelter' off Trouble. Wonderful vocals here. Sarah is a wistful ukulele laden number that reminds me of early Van Morrison. I Still Care for You with Leona Naess is a beautiful and calming song (a real grower). Winter Birds is possibly the greatest song the man has ever written. Nick Drake style picking with very strong images conjured up in the lyrics pertaining to the winter months.
After the first half, this album takes a trip through country and blues paying a tongue in cheek homage to Meg White. As well as a glimpse at his sense of humour, Meg White has some very Beatles-esque (White album) backing vocals. There is also use of the Metronome used on the White album. Hey Me, Hey Mama has a real jaunty barn dance feel to it. I can imagine an instrumentally talented southern family jamming this on their porch one Sunday afternoon. Henry Nearly Killed Me is what many fans have been waiting for...a blues foot stomper (hey he has the voice for it). My only complaint about this is that it doesn't breakout to be MORE raucous. A Falling Through (another grower) calms things down to bring us to the end which is the title track. The closing song wouldn't have been out of place on TTSTB with its eerie air about it and the scrape of Ray's pick audible over the strings, a great finish.
Overall I'd give the album 4.5 but settled for 5 (to compensate for the ridiculously childish and uninformed reviews of some of the others). Ray Lame-ontagne?? Deary Me. If you like blues/soul/country plus all the other sounds and individuality associated with established American music, then I recommend giving this a real listen.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
As a big fan of both Ray's 'Trouble' and 'Till The Sun Turns Black' albums, I have to admit that I was looking forward to this release as soon as I became aware of it and I really haven't been disappointed. This album is, without doubt, a slight departure and progression from Ray's last albums but the songwriting is superb and the performances are wonderful. From the brassy soul-soaked opener (the wonderful, uplifting 'You Are The Best Thing') to the understated folky title track via the smolderingly passionate 'Let It Be Me', the playful, but beautiful cascading folk of 'Sarah', the delightful banjo-fuelled, country and New Orleans jazz hybrid of 'Hey Me, Hey Mama' and the high-tempo, persistence-of-a-freight-train blues number 'Henry Nearly Killed Me (It's A Shame)' we are treated to brilliant track after brilliant track all magnificently produced by Ethan Johns, who manages to find the perfect sonic balance for this collection of eclectic compositions.
Existing fans who prefer the more restrained, reverential aspect of Ray's previous albums may find that this album doesn't quite fit into their idea of what LaMontagne is all about, but, in my opinion, it is the creative diversity of 'Gossip In The Grain' which makes this album such a superb listen. Even so, there are still a handful of tracks which have the hallmark of Ray's earlier work, such as the haunting 'I Still Care For You' and the simple picked guitar and tender vocals of 'Winter Birds', so this released is hardly comparable to the moment Dylan went electric for Ray's fan base.
To surmise, it is very difficult to be at all critical of this album - I just can't fault it (not that I was trying). I approached it with as objective an ear as I possibly could, but am forced to declare my bias and honesty report that I love each and every track on it. Even 'Meg White', the declaration of admiration for The White Stripes' drummer, which I had heard about before I listened the track, is just out-and-out enjoyable, even though the idea of it sounded terrible. What can I say? This album has ten impeccable tracks and is one of the very best of the year. Wonderful.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I must say I am continually impressed with singer songwriter Ray LaMontagne. His third album is another incredibly strong offering, building on his previous work but mixing in new musical ideas so that it sounds fresh and not just a retread of his old stuff.
Opening with an unexpected jaunty burst of brass in the up-tempo joyful `You are the best thing', the album gets off to a great start. After the surprise of the opener, so different to anything on his previous work, LaMontagne shows that he is full of surprises with a set which takes influences from right across the musical spectrum yet is blended together into a style that is uniquely his own.
Central to the album is LaMontagne's voice and songwriting. His voice is an imperfect instrument, but all the better for it. Slightly off key at times, gruff and craggy, it is soulful and rich with expression and intensity. Having moved on from the simple arrangements of just him and his guitar used in his earlier work, he now has a wide musical palette to draw from, and he uses it to the full, but the voice is never overwhelmed and always centre stage. He uses it to tell his tales of love and life in a way that really engages the listener and makes you feel involved in the music.
Five stars, no hesitation. This is LaMontagne's strongest recording to date, and I hope he continues to grow and progress, making more great music along the way.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 20 September 2008
First of all I would like to address the other review L.Nash has left. Leaving a three star review for an album of which he's heard only one song, which he said he liked, is unbelievable. I'm sure his intentions were good but when this album starts to get a lot of reviews, that three star clanger will drag the rating down.
Thanks to one of Ray's websites I have heard six songs off the album and I can confirm that the man with the voice like a dusty cabinet is still in a rich vein of form. The track listing has now changed. Instead of Achin' All The Time we get the brilliant You Are The Best Thing. I've also heard Hey Me Hey Mama, Sarah, Winter Birds, Meg White and Let It Be Me. If you've listened to a Ray album or are lucky enough to have caught him live you'll know what to expect from this third album, and from what I've heard so far it won't disappoint. Easiest five stars I've had to give.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2008
A great album full of songs that might seem to be slipping past (quiet and subtle and earnest) but which contain lines and thoughts and moments that stop you short. It's less full throttle than 'Trouble' but the urgency has not gone from the music. Ray LaMontagne is incapable of dishonesty and that integrity on its own is moving. But that's not all. The musicianship is fine and there's a lot of space in the production. There are lovely changes of rhythm. 'Gossip in the Grain' is more experimental and wide-ranging than 'Trouble', and a step on too from 'Till the Sun Turns Black'. It is in many ways hypnotic. The overall tone is restrained, but it's exciting because you can hear how the songs will unfold when played live. At the core of it all there is LaMontagne's turning to face life as honestly as he can.
Stand out songs: 'Let it Be Me', 'Sarah', 'Henry Nearly Killed Me' and 'A Falling Through'.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Ray Lamontagne, is an enigma. His voice is breathy and rich and his trademark. His songwriting is brilliant at times. He is a genius at his craft. But, he is not reaching the masses. I found him, oh, several years ago with his first CD, 'Trouble' and his voice and lyrics stirred my soul.
"The Jesus-bearded troubadour is sort of a recluse. He doesn't enjoy doing interviews, refuses to make music videos, and hates reviews of his work--be they positive or negative. But for all the coffeehouse hacks trying to emulate Bob Dylan's verbosity and Van Morrison's impassioned croon, there's the soft-spoken Ray LaMontagne, singing his own wistful tunes without the weight of pretension and the hype of MTV." Joe Tacopina
This CD brings Ray Lamontagne to the fore. He is including a full orchestra. As he said in an interview, "It was time to open up a little bit more, not be quite so reserved in my choice of songs that I wanted to record." His choices in these ten songs are somewhat similar to his first two CD's but tell a story of their own. These songs are richer and more complete.
'You Are The Best Thing'-Best song of the ten and my favorite- backed-up by vocals and this is Ray at his best.
'Let It Be Me'- A traditional Ray song-showcasing his beautiful voice.
'Sarah'- One of the most beautifully written songs- many say he sounds like Nick Drake in this saga.
'I Still Care For You'-The big band background with Ray barely speaking.
'Winter Birds'- The poem like wording is exquisite. The best writing of his career.
'Meg White'- Such a complete sidestepping of his usual fare. Feet stomping good- a tribute to Meg White of the 'Stripes'- you either love it or hate it.
'Hey Me, Hey Mama'- Folksy singing- absolutely love this new Ray- 'Where ya been so long?'
'Henry Nearly Killed Me'-Fast paced song with a story line to be followed.
'A Falling Through'- A quiet, thoughtful song.
'Gossip In The Grain'- Soft, listen carefully to the lyrics- beautiful musical background.
Ray Lamontagne is a musician who has not reached his prime. He has stepped out of his footprint with this CD. Gaining new ground and new fans. He is quietly taking his place along side the greats of his genre.
Recommended. prisrob 06-19-13
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2008
first off i just want to echo the sentiments of one of the other reviewers - dont give this album 3 stars just because you are too lazy to have listened to it enough to appreciate the genius on offer in this, the third installment by in my opinion, the finest musician around at the moment.
I'll admit, the first few times I listened to this I wasn't entirely sure of it but after having listened to it constantly on a long drive back from the north of Scotland, I am hooked.
The highlight of the album has to be Let it be me, which has another fine vocal performance from Ray, with heartwrenching guitar melodies that make this one of my alltime favourites of Ray's abundance of great songs.
All in all, please do not allow people who have given the album 3 stars after having admitted to listening to the album once or not at all. Like his previous 2 albums, this will take you on an emotional journey, one that you will be all the better for having.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 November 2008
After watching Ray LaMontagne singing live on t.v I was hooked. After reading the previous reviews it is apparent that some people do not like this genre of music, and that is fine. However if you do like this genre this album is a must have! I thought Trouble was a great album and was really suprised at how much Ray LaMontagne had grown musically for the classic TTSTB. Well he has just done it again. In Gossip in the grain Ray LaMontagne has again taken his music writing skills to a new level. After watching him live in his last tour I will be looking forward to watching him perform music from the new album. So to sum it all up, it is rare to find a hugely talented performer without the ego, and this man has talent in abundance.