Ray Lamontagne answers the musical question, "Is there a place in the commercial market for the gruff singer / songwriter?"...Yes!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Most singer / songwriter types work from a one dimensional wheelhouse, Ray Lamontagne has no wheelhouse. Ray Lamontagne and his latest release Supernova are the epitome of what defines true artistic development. Sure, some fans may think this is a tad over produced and is "different" than any of his other four release. Different is not bad, just different and none of the other four releases are remotely similar in presentation. Go big or go home and that is exactly what Lamontagne has done.
Perfect? No, Ray Lamontagne presents his work with a sense of artistic integrity and the end result is something the listener can delve into warts and all. There are a couple of warts here but nothing requiring immediate attention nor is there any irreparable damage done in this ambitious package. Supernova approaches commercial cross over nirvana in numerous spots yet there is a wider harmonic path of diversity cut through the lyrical maze than on previous attempts. Don't like a particular track? Just wait, Supernova never ventures too far off the beaten path it simply has the ability to forge numerous new paths throughout this most solid outing. Influences include Van Morrison and Tim Buckley while losing nothing in that most unique vision that defines Lamontagne.
Edgy, slow grooving, and some retro jazz influences have Supernova as one of the most debated releases of the year. Fans are torn, critics are puzzled and what is left of radio will of course ignore it in due course...Their loss.
Tracks: Lavender; Airwaves; She's The One; Pick Up A Gun; Julia; No Other Way; Supernova; Ojai; Smashing; Drive-In Movies.