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on August 17, 2010
Letting Ray LaMontagne transport you has never been easier, and new LP "God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise" is the reason why. His fourth album release - and the first to have him billed in a band context with the excellent Pariah Dogs - sounds rich, organic and sincere.

From the first song to the last the album sounds like the kind of live concert one might stumble upon during a night of bar hopping and count himself especially lucky for having chanced upon.

Things are a little changed this time around. The band is front and center in its support of LaMontagne, justifying their co-billing. Furthermore, he has taken over the production helm from Ethan Johns, taking more control over the final product. The result is sonic textures even more mellowed and marinated than before, allowing the songs maximum ability to catch hold and wield an impression upon the listener.

Even if LaMontagne hits upon a cliched phrases or idea here and there ("New York City's Bringing Me Down") it does not detract.

In fact, his directness and lack of pretense result in his themes - among them heartbreak ("This Love Is Over"), self-preservation ("Repo Man") and breaking free from convention (the husky, awesome "Beg Steal or Borrow") - coming off with ease and precisely-chiseled grace. This results in a set of a songs that are arresting at first listen.

A particular highlight is the sublime, catchy, profoundly beautiful "Old Before Your Time," which has such melodic panache it recalls heyday Elton John and Don McLean. It acknowledges the bittersweet reality of the examined life yet remains optimistic and soothing, one of LaMontagne's specialties. The same can be said of "For the Summer," which features awesome instrumental breaks.

LaMontagne has grown remarkably for an artist only on his fourth studio record. "God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise" is sure to please fans and earn many converts.
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on August 17, 2010
A genuinely haunting and hypnotic journey. The lyrics tell stories perfectly matched to the unique voice and subtle instruments. Don't be fooled by the peaceful appearance - these are genuine stories of loss, desire and heartbreak. The interplay of the steel guitar is the unifying thread throughout. Maybe not the genius of "Nashville Skyline", but reminiscent. A highly recommended interlude. Don't cheat yourself by trying to pick individual songs - buy the whole disc.
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on August 17, 2010
With the exception of "Live from Bonnaroo" I own every album Ray has out, including "Introducing Raycharles LaMontagne", (1999) "Acre of Land",(2001) "Green",(2002) and "One Lonesome Saddle",(2002). In my opinion, this is the BEST album Ray has ever released. From the opening song, "Repo Man" through the closing of "Devil's In The Jukebox", you'll be tapping your toes and singing right along - whether it be on your ride to work, or that road trip you've been planning. It's worth mentioning Ray's husky, smoke and whiskey, voice isn't as present on this album. Instead his voice rings clear and bright on the majority of the tracks.

I heartily agree with the Associated Press in saying God Willing And The Creek Don't Rise is, "one of the year's best!"
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on January 31, 2011
I am not what one would consider a Ray Lamontagne fan, but rather someone who is familiar with his style and his more notable songs. After hearing this album, I felt sick knowing that this music existed out there for four months without me knowing it.

In music, I like a lot of things, but find myself the most enamored and blown away by what I consider the entirety of the sound. It's the combination of everything....emotion, voice, musical phrasing, accompaniment, pace and organization of a song or album to produce something greater than the sum of its parts. This album delivers this in spades. From the bare bones and visceral "Are We Really Through" to the smoky soul swagger in "Repo Man" you will experience a variety of sounds that definitely lean a bit more to the alt-country side than his prior albums.

His use of Eric Heywood and Greg Leisz brings a boatload of credibility to this album. Leisz played for John Fogerty, Joni Mitchell, The Eagles, Beck, Wilco, Avenged Sevenfold, Smashing Pumpkins, Bruce Cockburn, Lucinda Williams, Alison Krauss & Robert Plant. Heywood started with The Jayhawks and Sun Volt. Both are fantastic.

I am typically not one to press my musical tastes upon others, but I cannot stop telling people about this album. It is that good. It is worth your time.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon August 17, 2010
"God willin' & the creek don't rise" is Ray Lamontagne's fourth album. It continues in the Folky Alt Country vein of its predecessor "Gossip in the grain" but largely without the psychedelic flourishes of that album but this time with a few friends comprising The Pariah Dogs.

The album comprises 10 tracks and opens with the retro Funk "Repo man" which wouldn't sound out of place on a James Brown album. The Country ballad "New York City's killing me" is wistful while the title track cranks up the melancholic factor even more.

Other standouts are the acoustic "Are we really through", the denser "For the summer", the more rocking Blues of "The devil's in the jukebox", and my favourite, the tremulous heartfelt acoustic "This love is over" perfectly showcasing his grainy croon as he sings in a vulnerable whisper. Truly spectacular!
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on February 25, 2011
I stumbled across RLM on BBC4 Songwriters' Circle in late 2010. His solo acoustic rendition of "Beg Steal or Borrow" completely stole the show from David Gray and KT Tunstall, both fine performers themselves. Equally by chance I caught his Southbank Centre concert last week (21/2/11). This man and his band, The Pariah Dogs, are brilliant. I immediately bought all 4 of his albums and haven't had them off the machines since. Whilst each is full of good stuff it is clear that he has absolutely hit his stride with "God Willin'.." Inevitable comparisons with The Band, CSN, Little Feat etc and the influences are there, but Ray is his own man and the arrangements and lyrics are original and compelling. And that voice...Otis Redding? Joe Cocker? Paul Rodgers? Its just bloody marvelous. If one has to single out stand-outs mine would be the title track, Repo Man, BS or B, For the Summer (with its superb slide break). But in truth there's not a poor song to be found and I don't think its an exaggeration to rate this a classic album. Lets hope there's so much more to come from Ray La Montagne.
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on February 22, 2011
It's hard to find an album that's more than just one or two hits and a lot of filler. This, however, is a complete effort. After listening to it several times you realize that the album would be incomplete if any of the songs where missing. Great music, excellent musicians and a mesmerizing voice. There is not a glimmer of hype in this performance. I have often sat in my car just listening to these songs long after I have arrived at my destination.
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on December 5, 2010
Ray has an awesome voice and his song writing is deep and meaningful and great to listen to. Always has been. But, I believe with the introduction of the Pariah Dogs....his songs have matured to solid, tight good music. Don't get me wrong...his previous CDs were all good too. However, with some of the previous CDs...some of the tracks just seemed to be a really quiet acoustic guitar with a kind of monotonous melody....or other efforts seemed to be searching for a some of the tracks of Gossip in the Grain ( too many horns and other instruments fighting for attention).

GWATCDR is his best effort IMHO. The reasons?....we'll his amazing voice and songwriting is now coupled with really good music and melodies. I mean song after song. I never thought I'd be a 'pedal steel' fan. But the way they incorporate the steel guitar into these songs, coupled with the just loud enough electric guitar droning its punctuations and perfect. The song Devil's in the Jukebox throws in a resonator ( doe bro ) guitar ( perfect for the bluesy feel of the song).

Some songs are basically all Can I come home for the Summer....which is a beautiful song. Some people have said Ray's gone a bit country with this CD. To be sure, there may be some country influences....but no mistake, you aren't going to hear anything about pickups and rail road tracks on this CD. No, as usual, Ray's lyrics and approach are heart moving, thought provoking songs about human loss, love and the human condition. Wonderful stuff when, ,like I said, combined with the awesome instrumentals. And almost all songs are awesome, New York City's..., God Willin and the Creek don't Rise ( which is my favorite, it's a short song and comes across as a letter from a guy pushing cattle in the range to his sweet heart back home that he'll be home soon one day if he doesn't die first) Beg, Borrow, Steel, Can I Come Home for the Summer, Old Before my Time, and Devil in the Jukebox are the best.

To sum it up; Ray's singing ( which has always been so unique in this day and age) is still great...coupled with wonderful melodies and tunes....make for a superb listening experience that I have been listening to almost every single day since buying the CD a week ago.
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on August 17, 2010
Pure and simple...this is great classic music from beginning to end. This may be Ray's most consistently good album he's made yet, at least since Trouble. Whereas previous albums had their standout tracks along with others that took awhile to catch on for me, each song on this album takes hold of you, demanding you to listen until before you know it you've listened to the whole album over and over without skipping a track. Right from the start Ray kicks it off with a funky groovy track like nothing else he's done before called "Repo Man." With the Pariah Dogs giving more of a band feel than a producer's influence, you can totally visualize how Repo Man came into being with Ray likely sitting in a room with the Pariah Dogs, sharing that groove on the acoustic guitar and each member jumping into the jam and adding their own parts to make a great rock song. Like most of Rays songs they would probably be just as good or better if it was just Ray and his acoustic. But here, I think the Pariah Dogs really earn their billing without taking away from the essence of the song or overshadowing it. Some of the songs do have a more country lilt to them and normally I cringe over pedal steel guitar (too honky tonk for me) but here its very tastefully done and, dare I say, lovely. The production is great and doesn't stray much from the straight forward band lineup or still stripping it down to Ray and his guitar like on "Rock & Roll Radio." I won't knock Ethan Johns production hand in previous releases. He's a great producer and I'm sure he was a big part in casting Ray with horns in some of his soul songs or in more jazzy and pastoral soundscapes. However, I think there was a bit too much production on the last release and overall this album feels more vital, immediate and passionate. Sure there may not be a single song as perfect as "Trouble" or as catchy as "You are the Best Thing." And yes, I always wish Ray would rock out a bit more. But all in all I think this is among Ray's strongest batch of great melodies, songwriting and classic sound. Definitely one you'll want to listen over and over from beginning to end for a long time to come.
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VINE VOICEon August 18, 2010
As a fan of LaMontagne's previous work, I had fairly high expectations and hopes for his latest release and I'm happy to say that it hasn't disappointed. "God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise" delivers - it's a fantastic mix of funk (Repo Man), blues (Devil's in the Jukebox), and Ray's own unique alt-folk sound. It's the type of music you can listen to and enjoy regardless of your mood.

In my opinion, LaMontagne's work just gets better with each album that he's done. Not a bad trajectory when you started with albums like "Trouble" and "When the Sun Turns Black".

This CD won't disappoint, get it and enjoy
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