Well, whaddaya know….ole Johnny Boy himself has “discovered” Ray LaMontagne. And I quote:
Ray LaMontagne is as brilliant as any artist that has ever lived.
And he’s getting better; tighter, more focused, more self-assured.
That’s pretty high praise coming from the Music Messiah. Actually, Ray opened for him at The Fillmore in 2005, so John has known of Ray for a while now. But just recently, John decided to blog about Ray L. recently and tried to explain Ray’s “essence” by creating an iTune’s iMix to showcase Ray’s obvious talent and compel others to get “caught up” on Ray. With baited breath, I clicked into iTunes to check out what Ray song’s that JOHN MAYER thought captured Ray.
When you click here, you will see that John lists three songs (although he mentions six in the narrative) that he feels define who Ray LaMontagne is, musicwise. If you’re too lazy to click, here they are:
Wow, JM, you really dug deep for those. Aren’t these all ones that have been on TV or in the movies? While I give John props for the iMix thing, I don’t think those three songs capture the multi-facetedness of Ray LaMontagne. While I think that visuals like YouTube vids give a better glimpse of the complexities of RL, I am intrigued by the whole iMix thing and thought that it would be fun to create a Ray LaMontagne MusicMaven iMix that I think better captures the essence, range and profound talent of this prolific artist.
MusicMaven’s Essence of Ray iMix
Problem with iTunes, however, is that it’s not definitive. YouTube is much more broad in terms of available performances. Like, how can you explain the essence of Ray without these:
To Love Somebody (with Damien Rice)
And, there are so many more…
I do agree with John, however, that Ray is really starting to come into his own. His latest CD, Gossip in the Grain, is markedly more upbeat than Trouble, and ‘Til the Sun Turns Black. However, in Ray’s initial, self-produced CD, One Lonesome Saddle, includes some really good stuff, with a spectacular old-time religion track of Shuckin’ the Corn, he shows that even when he first started out, he had diversity in his music and passion in his heart.
IvoryHut had a good piece on Gossip in the Grain a while back that includes the entire track listing, etc. I have to say that my favorite track from the new CD is You Are the Best Thing:
Absolutely marvelous. Movin’, groovin’, and definitely NOT Country, Ivory. Ray’s music covers so many genres, that he’s hard to “label”. However, give it a shot. Give me a genre label for Ray’s music…like “Diversified Soul” or “Angst Funk”.