Tune in tonight at 9pm, when I host THE HOT SEAT on mvyradio. I’ll play music from the artists performing at next weekend’s Life Is Good festival. I’ve also talked with James MacDonald, who’s the producer of the festival, and he had some wonderful background to share about the company as well as the mission of the Life Is Good playmakers. This is more than just a fun festival with a dynamite lineup…100% of festival proceeds go towards helping children in need. Great music and a great cause. Here’s my playlist for tonight:
Ray LaMontagne – “You Are The Best Thing”
Ingrid Michaelson – “Way I Am”
The Hold Steady – “Sequestered In Memphis”
The Avett Brothers – “Kick Drum Heart”
Martin Sexton – “Happy”
Levon Helm – “When I Go Away”
Robert Randolph & the Family Band – “If I Had My Way”
Raphael Saadiq – “Stone Rollin’”
Maceo Parker – “Hallelujah, I Love Her So”
Michael Franti – “Sound Of Sunshine
Dwight & Nicole – “Cry, Cry”
Ryan Montbleau Band – “Glad” [LIVE at Life Is Good]
Ingrid Michaelson – “Everybody”
TONIGHT AT 9PM!
LIFE IS GOOD FESTIVAL
Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs – God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise
The 10 tracks on Ray LaMontagne’s new self-produced album are dripping with the same soul and heartache that are felt in his previous releases. The first track, “Repo Man”, starts things off with a bang, but the rest of the album is lilting and somber. As always, LaMontagne writes thought-provoking and retrospective lyrics that cut to the core. The album is rich with pedal steel (featured on almost every track), which gives me that feeling of watching the sun rise or set…as pictured in the album artwork! This is sure to be one of my top 10 albums of the year, especially after seeing almost every new song performed live at the Bank Of America Pavilion show in August.
Favorite tracks: “Repo Man”, “Beg, Steal, or Borrow”, “Like Roll & Roll and Radio”
Check it out if you like:
God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise
Ray LaMontagne – “Old Before Your Time”
I gave my Dad a copy of the new Ray LaMontagne album a few weeks ago, and he pointed out the beautiful lyrics in this tune. The whole song is brilliant, but this verse is my favorite:
“Ain’t it about time you realize it’s not worth keeping score? You win some, you lose some and you let it go. What’s the use of stacking on every failure another stone? Till you find you’ve spent your whole damn life building walls, lonely and old before your time.”
Ray LaMontagne – “Like Rock & Roll and Radio”
I liked this song a lot when I first listened to Ray LaMontagne’s new (and fantastic) album, God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise, but the lyrics really hit me over the head when I saw LaMontagne live. It’s such a powerful tune about a relationship changing… it seems so painful and I can actually feel it. Then he throws in a few comparisons that totally get my mind going in other directions. It’s a really well-crafted tune:
“Are you still in love with me, like the way you used to be
Or is it changing?
Does it deepen over time, like the River that is winding
Through the Canyon?…
Are we strangers now”
Like the Ziegfeld Gal and the Vaudeville show?
Are we strangers now?
Like Rock and Roll and the Radio?
Like Rock and Roll and Radio…”
I can’t quite say I like David Gray better than Ray LaMontagne since the two are so incredibly different. That’s part of what made the show so good! LaMontagne’s set was a heaping helping of one of the most heartfelt and soulful voices you’ve ever heard followed by Gray’s tender but raw and emotional wall of sound. There’s just something about David Gray’s music that cuts to the core of me and finally seeing him live in concert was nothing short of spectacular.
He played a mix of old and new tunes, definitely getting the crowd riled up right away. Each and every song was so epic and ended with such power, you’d think it was the final song of the night. “Fugitive” was the perfect start to the set with its booming drums and gorgeous buildup. Here’s his complete setlist:
2. “Stella the Artist”
3. “Be Mine”
4. “The One I Love”
5. “Now and Always”
7. “Sail Away”
8. “The Other Side”
9. “We Could Fall in Love Again Tonight” [solo]
10. “Shine” [solo]
12. “Please Forgive Me”
13. “This Year’s Love”
I was so psyched to hear “Jackdaw” which is my favorite track from 2009′s Draw The Line, and “Please Forgive Me”, my favorite from White Ladder (2000). But the best moment of the set for me was when his (incredible) band walked offstage, leaving Gray alone with his guitar to play a tune from his new album Foundling followed by “Shine” – the first David Gray song I ever heard. The lyrics are so sad but so moving and it was amazing to stand there watching him belt them out…
“For all that we struggle, for all we pretend
It don’t come down to nothing except love in the end.
And ours is a road that is strewn with goodbyes,
but as it unfolds, as it all unwinds…
remember your soul is the one thing you can’t compromise
Take my hand…We’re gonna go where we can shine”
At the end of the night, David Gray and Ray LaMontagne performed a song together. I can’t be sure, but I think it was the Bee Gees tune, “In the Morning”. The crowd was AMPED to see them up there side by side, but the rocky duet was a true testament to how different their sounds are. Their guitar playing, their voices, and their energy levels didn’t mix well when put together, but seeing their sets back to back was an amazing musical experience I won’t soon forget.
Last night I saw Ray LaMontagne and David Gray at the Bank Of America Pavilion in Boston and it was an incredible show! Both sets were so amazing and so different. It was a wonderful pairing and I was so thrilled to be there for it.
As I suspected, Ray LaMontange played first. I thought it made sense with his more subdued sound. I was immediately impressed by his band, The Pariah Dogs. I read in a review of the new album, God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise, that LaMontagne’s voice upstages the band, but I’d have to disagree. With such a unique and engaging voice, you want a band that will compliment the vocals without drawing any attention away from them… and that’s just what this band does. The four Pariah Dogs were clearly seasoned musicians and they helped the music come alive up there on stage.
LaMontagne’s set consisted of 13 songs (including the encore) and by my count, 8 of those songs were off the new album. I was surprised by that, but not disappointed. He also played 3 tunes off 2008′s Gossip In the Grain – “Let It Be Me”, “You are the Best Thing”, and “Henry Nearly Killed Me (It’s a Shame)”. “Trouble” was a huge crowd pleaser towards the beginning of the set, as was the encore – “Shelter”. I was excited to hear the new material live after listening and loving the album and it did not disappoint. In fact, some songs had a new life to them that made me appreciate the new album even more.
Ray LaMontagne performs again with David Gray at the Pavilion tonight… and you can STREAM THE SHOW LIVE on UStream!
Ray LaMontagne – God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise
I cannot express just how excited I am about the Ray LaMontagne/David Gray concert next Tuesday night (8/17) in Boston. They have quickly become two of my favorite artists in the past few years and I’ve never seen either of them live in concert. To make the night even sweeter, both are releasing brand new albums on Tuesday.
Thanks to NPR music’s First Listen, I’ve gotten to check out Ray LaMontagne’s new album and it’s nothing short of spectacular!
For God Willin’, LaMontagne is joined by The Pariah Dogs – a set band of seasoned musicians who really help to give the album continuity. As you would expect, LaMontagne’s vocals are soulful and his words are tender, thoughtful, and melancholy. What’s new and refreshing is the countryish twang to this record. There’s an abundance of lilting melodies, slide guitar work and even harmonica and banjo at times.
In terms of my favorite songs on first listen, I’m really digging the bluesy final track, “The Devil’s in the Jukebox” and I can’t get enough of the single “Beg Steal or Borrow”. I’m a big fan of ”Repo Man”, the hardest hitting track that starts off the album with a bang, and I also love the sparse, pain-filled, “Are We Really Through”. From start to finish, LaMontagne is giving us a lot to sink our teeth into with God Willin’. It’s nothing short of what I expected and I’m so psyched to hear some of the new material live.
LISTEN TO THE ALBUM (it’ll be posted until its release on Tuesday)
Ray LaMontagne – “Beg Steal or Borrow”
David Gray – “A Moment Changes Everything”
NEW TRACKS from Ray LaMontagne and David Gray! LaMontagne’s forthcoming album, God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise, will hits stores August 17th…as will David Gray’s new 2 disc release, Foundling. I’m psyched to get new albums from these artists so soon! I hear they both wanted to release new material for their tour together this summer… hence the ‘all of a sudden’ singles. Here’s the Ray LaMontagne single:
And the David Gray single:
You can still get tickets to either Boston show (featuring both of these amazing artists!!), on August 17th or 18th at the Bank Of America Pavilion.