RAY BONNEVILLE Easy Gone
Red House Records
A few years back I enjoyed reviewing an album by this French/Canadian born, American bred singer, songwriter and guitarist who is oft compared to J J Cale. Now arrives this new album featuring his world weary vocals and easy rolling, tasteful guitar on a beguiling mix of Americana, folk, blues, country and rockabilly. This is what I believe is known as back porch blues – sit back, pour a large one, roll a large one and mellow out to some great sounds. This much travelled man is a raconteur whose songs are moody, powerful and gritty although the presentation is spare and laid back. Who Do Call The Shots sets the stage perfectly with a stripped back, taut, swampy, guitar, bass and drums backing up his care-worn vocals. With Bonneville the song is everything, the pace is unhurried, the playing is tight and not a note is wasted. Shake Off My Blues features shimmering slide guitar lines and understated harmonica fills backing up Bonneville’s dusky vocals. The standout plea Where Is My Easy Gone features Eliza Gilkyson on backing vocals as Bonneville looks to regain his mojo. The brooding, dark tale Love Is Wicked is followed by the up-tempo rocker When I Get To New York where Bonneville promises sinisterly “I will find you somewhere”. The evocative and soulful country ballad The Lone Freighter’s Wail is the archetypal tale of the old lonely American drifter. The sole cover on the album is Hank Williams haunting So Lonesome I Could Cry which is a perfect fit for Bonneville’s style. The atmospheric and chilling murder ballad Mile Marker 41 evokes a creepy vibe as Bonneville stalks his prey to the backdrop of a slithering slide guitar. The closing solo acoustic Two Bends In The Road is a classic tale of uncertainty and not knowing which way to turn. I enjoyed this album so much I think I’ll pour another large one and play it again. Thoroughly recommended.