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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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For the curious amongst you this album is streaming in full over at the wonderful National Public Radio until September 7th which will enable you to ignore the sniffy BBC review above and check out the real thing. After hearing it in full a good number of times the "cheque is in the post" to Amazon since this is easily LaMontagne's best since his timeless debut album "Trouble" with its echoes of Otis Redding. On this new album he has moved away from producer Ethan John and instead filled out his sound by enlisting the support of his red hot band of musicians the Pariah Dogs who support him in concert and comprise Jay Bellarose on drums, Jennifer Condos on bass, Patrick Warren on keys, Eric Heywood on guitar and Greg Leisz on steel guitar.

"Repo Man" is a exuberant and funky start to the album with LaMontagne's trademark gravely vocal returning like a very welcome old friend after an extended guitar introduction. It is however not typical of the songs throughout since this new albums predominant feel is largely based on alternative country in the vein of Gram Parsons, Ryan Adams, Evan Dando and particularly the source inspiration of "Harvest" era Neil Young which is spread like a rash over the albums second half (but let me add in in a very good way). "New York City's killing me" is classic heartbreak country territory as is the stellar title track which is one of the best songs on the album with its slow and lonesome vocal by LaMontagne and dulcet steel guitar backing from Greg Leisz. On its own this song is worth the price of admission and will soundtrack many smoky Saturday nights and rainy Sunday mornings accompanied by a punishing hangover. My favourite song thus far is "Beg, steal or borrow" which is a mid tempo shuffle accompanied by a lovely vocal from LaMontagne, nice rattling percussion and a song theme which exhorts a young man to break free from small town confines and get away.

The albums remaining songs include the excellent smouldering classic "This love is over" which could have possibly appeared on "Trouble", and then the influence of Neil Young fully kicks in. Both "Endless Summer" and "Like Rock n Roll Radio" could have happily sat on "Harvest" and halfway through I had the odd feeling of missing backing vocals from James Taylor. Whatever the case they are both great country blues songs with a slightly ramshackle ambience and effortless backing from the hugely efficient Pariah Dogs. "Old before your time" is a gentle banjo driven ballad which will undoubtedly be covered in due course by a variety of country singers, while the albums closer lightens the mood with "Devil in the Jukebox" which is one of those examples of loose rustic Americana that could be sung by group of "good ole boys" playing on wooden chairs outside the local fishing tackle store. With its howling harmonica it sees LaMontagne having a wail of a time "about to throw tomatoes on the griddle to fry."

As stated previously of LaMontagne four albums thus far "God Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise" is probably closer in spirit to "Trouble" than the much darker "Till the Sun turns black". His last album "Gossip in the Grain" sounded to these ears to be a somewhat tired and forced in parts but it is delightful to report that this new and very mellow album sees a master craftsman and brilliant set of backing musicians delivering the goods. If you have been searching in vain for a diverse collage of sounds based on ageless Americana your destination has been reached. Highly recommended.
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on 7 September 2010
Let me set the record straight!! Whilst the BBC review seems at pains to find fault on this album, and belittle the amazing song writing of one our generations' truely unique and gifted performers,, I cannot help but report all of the positives and assure you that all is well in the world, as Ray has yet again delivered a beautiful soul stirring piece of work. This is the best album from Ray since Trouble, and that is one of my top five albums of all time.

The mood is relaxed, the melancholy tinged with optimism, the voice is true and heartfelt, and the band are tight and loose in perfect measure. Everything points to a man at the peak of his powers recording and playing in an enviroment where he and his band are at ease! Ray has taken the production under his own wing, and I have to say that the lush sound of the band is beautifully captured, from the various pedal steel and slide guitar flourishes to the vibrant full sounding acoustic playing and the perfectly understated drumming.

All of the songs are great, displaying Ray's simple and universal lyrics which seem to immediatley strike a chord. Without going through the full album, the stand out tracks are Repo Man (funky), New York is Killing Me, God Willin' and The Creek Don't Rise and For The Summer.

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This is the fourth studio album from one of this generation's most original and talented songsmiths, Ray LaMontagne. It is a gorgeous album, with LaMontagne's soulful, craggy voice and evocative songwriting firmly centre stage. Rooted firmly in the folk/Americana tradition, there is a breadth of styles embraced, with songs that wouldn't sound out of place on albums by people as diverse as Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan or Simon and Garfunkel. LaMontagne has a colourful and expressive voice which he uses to good effect, and a great songwriting ability that allows him to craft some classic tunes and lyrics. The Pariah Dogs are a tight knit band who work well with LaMontagne, punctuating his singing and providing just the right backing for the mood. They seem to know just what is required at any moment, and an almost perfect record results. An absolute classic, five stars. Here's hoping there's much more to come!
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on 4 January 2011
Not only has Ray got the most amazing expressive voice but the way he uses it, is masterful.
Looking like Rasputin but with the voice of a battered ,well lived soul singer,this guy is special.
I have been playing and singing with this album constantly for the past month in my car on the way to work,and it is one of my favourite albums of the last year.
The lyrics and the atmosphere the vocal and instruments create are cinematic this is especially the case with the title track 'God Willin &Creek don't Rise" .It opens with such a beautiful open ended phrase and then continues to transport you into a timeless American landscape, in widescreen.
The Pariah Dogs augment Rays voice and add a haunting quality to the songs.
In my opinion there is not one weak song on this album.
If you like melodic ,well crafted songs, sung and played with subtlety and grace, just buy it.
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on 17 June 2013
I only discovered this artist recently on YouTube. I find him both lyrically and musically superior to most of the singer / songwriters around today. His songs bridge folk and country with ease, with a sensitivity that takes it out of redneck twang, and into deeper waters. Also check out the song "Empty" from his "Till The Sun Turns Black" album, as that's the song that first put the hook in me.
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on 7 February 2014
Buy this!! i had never heard of this guy until recently. A work colleague was playing it and i asked if i could borrow it. Love it!! the guys voice, the music its really fab. A little bit country, bluesy, funky - you will not be disappointed.
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on 5 October 2015
I discovered Ray LaMontagne just a few months ago wile listening to Radio NZ late one night. They have a lot of blues, Americana, jazz etc on at that time. It was where I also discovered Alejandro Escovedo's beautiful 'Wave'. The LaMontagne song on Radio NZ was 'Beg, Steal or Borrow' and sounded great. Next time I went to the public library, I checked him out on Youtube and found some other really good songs like 'For the Summer'.

When I purchased the CD, I certainly was not disappointed. Fine songwriter, great voice, and just seems like like a real natural down-to-earth guy. This is a great CD if you're into Americana, folk, alternative country, or just good songwriting, singing and musicianship. A ral craftsman.
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on 15 June 2014
Heard one of this Cd's tracks while shopping in Matalan'
stopped shopping and listened to it, it was really great.
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on 26 July 2011
I have been following Ray Lamontagne since he released his debut album "Trouble" in 2004 which included some melodramatic folk rock songs such as the lead single "Trouble", as well as two beautifully penned ballads "Shelter" and "Hold You In My Arms". On his fourth release "God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise", he continues in similar territory, although the sound has altered. It is quite difficult to describe as the change is very subtle - the songs seem to be more present and alive.

"Repo Man" is a really great tune with very rythmic bluesy guitar and soulful vocals. "New York City's Killing Me" is a pleasant mellow country song and the title track "God Willin' And The Creek Don't Rise" is very introspective and calm. "Beg Steal And Borrow" is a another catchy blues influenced track. "Are We Really Through" brings another moment of peace and tranquility with just Ray's raspy plaintiff vocals and a guitar. "This Love Is Over" has a cool vibe to it. "Old Before Your Time" and "For The Summer" take us once again in to country music territory, but are less interesting than the other songs. The most beautiful ballad of the album is "Like Rock & Roll And Radio" with heartfelt lyrics and vocals you can only listen to attentively. The album closes with a bluesy number "The Devils In The Jukebox" which is a little repetitive and simple in it's medlody, but has great music.

Once again, Ray Lamontagne manages to create a great sounding quality record.
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on 18 December 2013
This is the best album I've bought all year. This man has a great voice and he writes beautiful lyrics. There is only one track that hasn't lodged itself indelibly into my memory, hence the four stars instead of five.
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