I always find a calming comfort from listening to a Ray LaMontagne album. From 2004’s “Trouble” to 2018’s “Part of the Light,” LaMontagne repeatedly strikes a sentimental chord that sparks memories of joy, love and simpler times.
The eighth release from the singer-songwriter is yet another passionate collection of heartfelt arrangements saturated with intimate musings, making it one of his finest efforts to date.
“Roll Me Mama, Roll Me” opens the set with the New Hampshire native offering up a tender acoustic ballad about the search for a meaningful love as LaMontagne declares, “I don’t want a shadow life/I want the clouds, the sea, the sky, the real things.”
“I could sing you a song/Play you a tune/I know it’s just a little thing, but it’s something I can do,” declares LaMontagne as he looks for ways to give back to someone who has displayed consistent compassion through both the good and bad times. “I Was Born to Love You” is a simplistic masterpiece of experiencing meaningful love with LaMontagne professing, “Just wanna give back a little bit of what you give me.”
On “Misty Morning Rain,” hints of Cat Stevens and Joni Mitchell embrace LaMontagne’s haunting lyrics as man becomes one with the wonder of nature.
“Had our share of the pain/Of the clouds and the rain/Lean on me and I’ll lean on you/And together, we’ll get through,” softly sings LaMontagne on “We’ll Make It Through.” While it might be a beautiful declaration of love, this moving ballad also carries a significant message of the times by reminding us that together we can overcome anything.
“Highway to the Sun” brings the album to a soulful close as LaMontagne outlines the journey to feel something real before it’s too late as he confesses, “I don’t know where I’m going/I’ve got miles and miles yet to run.”
With many miles left to run, LaMontagne will certainly have plenty of opportunities to charm his fans with more well-crafted compositions on life, love and experiencing a purposeful existence.
Clint Rhodes is the Herald-Standard music reviewer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.