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Till the Sun Turns Black

4.6 out of 5 stars 177 customer reviews

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Till The Sun Turns Black
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Audio CD, August 29, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Ray LaMontagne's new CD, Till The Sun Turns Black, is a deeply personal and profoundly introspective piece of work. There's no doubt the 300,000+ fans who fell in love with Ray after hearing his critically acclaimed 2004 debut, Trouble, will love this new collection of music. At the same time, "Till The Sun Turns Black," Ray's second collaboration with celebrated producer Ethan Johns, marks a daring push beyond the acoustic roots of his first CD, and into more complex and diverse styles, textures and arrangements.

How do you follow a debut record that achieved out-of-the-blue grandeur on its way to selling a quarter of a million copies? For Maine’s Ray LaMontagne, it’s all about shaking up the formula, evading repetition and delivering the unexpected. Till the Sun Turns Black finds the introspective singer/songwriter complementing his folk-country ways with traces of strings and horns and spooky soulful background voices. Songs like "You Can Bring Me Flowers" and "Three More Days" are the most R&B-influenced, the latter shuffling about ala The Band or Tony Joe White. Despite its brooding lyrics, "Empty" has a rollicking, almost breezy delivery, a perfect balance to either the hushed title track, the unnerving "Be Here Now" or the horn-fortified waltz, "Gone Away From Me." Throughout the 11-song sequence, and especially on the final song "Within You," LaMontagne’s voice remains the record’s most crucial element, as vibrant as it is tattered and as harsh as it is flawless. --Scott Holter

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Be Here Now
  2. Empty
  3. Barfly
  4. Three More Days
  5. Can I Stay
  6. You Can Bring Me Flowers
  7. Gone Away From Me
  8. Lesson Learned
  9. Truly, Madly, Deeply
  10. Till The Sun Turns Black
  11. Within You

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 29, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (177 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,788 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Ray Lamontagne's new album TILL THE SUN TURNS BLACK makes a solid follow up to his great 2004 debut TROUBLE. TROUBLE introduced a singer who was favorably compared to such heavy weights as Van Morrison and Otis Redding.

While TROUBLE hit you over the head with it's great title track and then continued with some songs in a similar mode, the new album is a different beast altogether. TILL THE SUN TURNS BLACK moves at a slow simmer, rising only above a whisper on a couple of tunes. Despite it's subtlety, this album packs the same emotional punch as its predecessor. Lamontagne's songs are floated on quiet string and brass arrangements with acoustic guitar and stirring vocals to create a music that falls somewhere between the blues and the music of Nick Drake. It all shadows and smoke.

Fans of TROUBLE will no doubt find much to like here, but will need to approach this new release with patience. A point of reference for existing fans would be TROUBLE's closing track ALL THE WILD HORSES. It is an album that will reward the listener with more depth each time they play it.
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Format: Audio CD
I first heard Ray Lamontagne while driving to work in Indianapolis. I was listening to the independently owned radio station broadcasting out of Bloomington and 'Trouble' came out of my two-door Honda's meager speakers. People may question whether love-at-first-sight exists and the discussion can go around the moon and back without a definitive answer but I'll never question falling in love with a song. 'Trouble' became a definitive song in my life and the album as a whole solidified Ray Lamontagne's place among my favorite artists.

So, when I was purchasing a book in a major retail bookstore in downtown Boston, their last-minute-marketing attempts caught me unawares as I stood there looking at Ray's new album. I admit, I'd lost touch and wasn't even aware that a new album was being released! I bought it without a second look and it lived in my bag for over twenty-four hours until I had the opportunity to break it open and listen to it from beginning to end.

First listen: Solid follow-up album that is clearly more-produced that the debut. Initially I felt it might have been a little over-produced with splashes of horn-sections and strings. It was clearly in contrast to the bare-bones, mostly-accoustic debut album.

Second listen: Wait...what's the name of the second track? This song is beautiful! Absolutely haunting and...start it over from the beginning. Resist the temptation to put this one track on repeat. . .

Third listen: This album is not at all overproduced. It's brilliant and, as I would expect, the lyrics and melodies are gorgeous.

And to shamelessly make an allusion to the fourth track, "Three more days" I implore you to give it three more listens if at first you feel ambivalent. This album is a treasure.
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Format: Audio CD
Till The Sun Turns Black is the second terrific album by singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne, whose first wonderful album, was Trouble (2004). Ray is not a cheerful or sunny soul (the title should be a hint of that, no?). Rather, like Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, Kelly Joe Phelps, he mostly mines the caves of sadness, loss, weariness, lassitude, and sorrow. He sings in a hushed and plaintive voice which is like the far off sounds of a train, mournful and distant. Don't get me wrong, Ray is wonderful to hear, just don't spin this disc if you are already feeling a bit, shall we say, desperate. Or then again, maybe you should. Just maybe his own wretched misery would be enough to make you say, "Hey, at least I don't feel THAT bad." But joking, aside, this album, despite being slightly tarnished by too much fancy strings and orchestral sounding background, has some truly stellar gems.

The song "Empty" is sheer poetry:

"lay your blouse across the chair,

let fall the flowers from your hair

and kiss me with that country mouth, so plain.

outside, the rain is tapping on the leaves,

to me it sounds like they're applauding us the quiet love we made.

will i always feel this way?

so empty, so estranged"

Buy the album for "Empty" but stay and listen to the whole thing. It is well worth it. Thank you Mr. LaMontagne.
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Format: Audio CD
"Can you see the wise man simply living, loving quietly..." so sings Ray LaMontagne on the title track of his latest release Till The Sun Turns Black. It's a lyric, you sense, that is close to the singer-songwriters heart, if not even some sort of personal credo. For Ray LaMontagne and his music are most determinedly not of this ever more frenetic age - and thank goodness for that. It's comforting to know that there are still genuine, unadulterated back-woods musical geniuses out there. LaMontagne's songs seem to naturally embody the same sort of spirit, feel and grain of artists like Otis Redding, Van Morrison, Stephen Stills, and Ray Charles and yet even after just one album, his voice and style are umistakably his own. One listen to Ray LaMontagne and you don't soon forget it. Quite simply, the man moves me, and he also soothes my soul. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling this.

It's wonderful to discover then, that after the success of LaMontagne's 2004 debut Trouble, his new songs have lost nothing in the way of their original unpretensious, heart-on-sleeve earthiness. If anything, Till The Sun Turns Black is a touch more somber than Trouble, with a profound sense of melancholy running through even the lighter moments. Songs about hard times, self-doubt, and lost love can generally be relied upon to be compelling, but rarely are they so effortlessly graceful, hauntingly sincere and unutterably beautiful as they are on Till The Sun Turns Black. Aided once more by the brilliant multi-instrumentalist Ethan Johns (it's hard to imagine any other producer for LaMontagne) the two prove beyond all doubt that Trouble was no fluke. It was in fact, only the beginning. Without altering his style drastically, LaMontagne has really broadened his approach here.
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