Second album from amazing singer-songwriter.
After having been enjoying an imported copy of this glorious album for more than sixth months, it's nice to see that 'Till the Sun Turns Black' is finally available in the UK. The follow-up to the much-lauded 'Trouble' has also been produced by maestro Ethan Johns and is as magnifying as its predecessor.
Opener 'Be Here Now' is a slow building song with a bowed bass, violin, acoustic guitar and piano creating a textured and subtle sound for an understated beginning for an album that avoids unnecessary frills and focuses on disarming the listener with gloriously stirring songs. 'Be Here Now' was also chosen as the first single from the album and was released as a limited 7".
'Empty' is a personal favourite and contains the bittersweet lyric "I never learnt to count my blessings, I choose instead to dwell in my disasters", just one in a song filled with musical poetry. The percussion helps to craft a swaying melody for a song about longing and regrets. Each song here exists in layers that are unwrapped with each listen, and after continued listening each instrument in play becomes more evident and effective.
'Three More Days' is a more upbeat, soul-tinged song thanks to the inclusion of a saxophone, trumpet and horns. This song has a very classic feel to it and could have been released at any point in the last thirty years, and is a good example of why Ray Lamontagne should be considered a classic singer-songwriter within a matter of years. 'Can I Stay' is a strings and cello led lament with characteristically lovelorn lyrics. In his fragile yet ragged voice Ray runs the gauntlet of sensitivity with ease. 'Gone Away from Me' also sounds suitably peerless and makes use of often neglected instruments like a mellophone and a euphonium. The rhythm of the song is jauntier than many others here and shows Ray is capable of creating a variety of sounds and expressions.
It would be easy to discuss each of the exquisite songs here in vast detail but to trim things down a little it's worth saying that every song here has many merits to share with the listener. His humble stage presence and the personality projected through his songs makes Ray Lamontagne an irresistibly aloof artist. 'Till the Sun Turns Black' is an album that hits all of the sore spots 'Trouble' did and sees a deepening of both music and lyrics. Wondrous.