The latest from Ray Bonneville features 10 songs that seem to work together as one large body of music. The tunes here revel in a minimalist yet swampy vibe. Bonneville’s guitar and harp playing perfectly match the moods of his lyrics. He travels from melancholy to bitterness, and back. The opener, “Who Do Call The Shots,” matches punchy guitar and mysterious vocals with a great lyric. Bonneville’s guitar style is not based on chops, but on sound and feel. His chords and double stops are effortless and perfect on “Shake Off My Blues.” His haunting guitar work and lonely harp make the walking blues of “Love Is Wicked” a highlight of the record. And when he wants to get a little funky, he ups the playing on both instruments; witness the blues march “When I Get To New York.” Bonneville wrote or co-wrote all of the songs here, except for a cover of the Hank William’s chestnut “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” that sounds just like you’d expect. Easy Gone is another treasure from an artist deserving of more exposure.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s August ’14 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.