One of the joys of 2004 was discovering Ray Lamontagne. I was driving on the 210 freeway from Pasadena to Duarte one chilly morning in November or December. I flipped the radio to NPR and heard an ancient soulful voice ache across the airwaves. Part Otis Redding part mountain man. I was shocked to hear such a genuinely heartbreaking sound.
It was Ray LaMontagne. His Trouble album was one of the greatest Cds I had come a cross in a decade. Let me set the record straight, I am jaded, I am cynical, I have seen and heard it all. To be moved so deeply by a new artist was astonishing to me even as it was happening. I bought at least a dozen copies of the CD to give to friends and family that I thought needed to hear it.
Ray's new CD, 'Til the Sun Turns Black is another great collection. Ethan Johns produced both. While trouble was raw and live, the new collection is more thoughtful and introspective. A little less rough around the edges but still brilliant. And we get a sweet dose of Muscle Shoals Style horns to boot.