Roots music column, September 23 Ray Bonneville review   Leave a comment


In my Roots Music column published today in the Red Deer Advocate, I advance many local roots events- including appearances by Bill Bourne, Gary Fjelljaard, Katy Moffatt & Andrew Hardin, and The Spinney Brothers- and review the new album from Ray Bonneville, Bad Man’s Blood. I’ve also added a 2003 Bonneville review from the achives.

Thanks to everyone who visits Fervor Coulee, and all the labels, artists, and publicists who continue to service me. Donald

Ray Bonneville Bad Man’s Blood Red House Records

What Dave Alvin does with country-influenced roots rock, Ray Bonneville does for its blues-based, swamp dwelling cousin.

Unafraid of challenging lyrical structures and rhythmic diversity, Bonneville floats along his self-created river of blues with confident intensity. Starting out dark and hopeless (“Bad Man’s Blood”), the album somberly explores shades of gray before sparking a bit on “Ray’s Jump,” a stepping sax-rich instrumental.

Bonneville provides plenty of room for accompanist Gurf Morlix, who shines on various guitars and provides harmony vocals.

Canadian-born, Bonneville has again produced a collection of story songs rich in the southern, country blues tradition.

From October, 2003: Gold in a Way

Ray Bonneville Roll It Down Stony Plain

With a rousing mixture of acoustic blues realism and mid-80’s populist Clapton “Rock n’ Roll Heart” kinda thing, Bonneville- who splits his time between Montreal and rural Arkansas- has created a disc of enthusiastic and distinctive grooves that should find favour with all discriminating blues fans.  Textured and stripped down, uptown and back porch, the most common reference point may be Colin Linden who, not coincidentally, co-produced the album with Bonneville.  Bonneville’s voice is only a little less irregular than Linden’s but his guitar playing is every bit as colourful and accomplished.  For acoustic fans, Bonneville has included two numbers where he goes it alone with only a guitar and foot keeping time.  A satisfying disc that warrants repeated listening.

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