Artist: Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs
Title: “God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise”
Format: Digital (Spotify)
Indubitably, when an artist produces his or her own material, there can be the tendency toward indulgence.
It’s a trap New Hampshirite singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne falls into with his first self-produced LP, “God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise.”
I soured on LaMontagne after I was disappointed by “Gossip in the Grain” and “Till the Sun Turns Black,” which is why “God Willin’ ” passed me by.
The record starts hopefully with “Repo Man,” a hot, funky blues number, but it really doesn’t belong on this record. The rest of the record is brokenhearted, country-flecked rock.
Take “New York City’s Killin’ Me,” for example. A country song about isolation in the big city? That’s a cliché that doesn’t sound like one.
“God Willin’ ” includes his biggest hit to date in the Grammy-nominated “Beg Steal or Borrow,” which is unoffending but predictable.
That’s an apt description of much of his fourth platter. LaMontagne’s honeyed croak gives buoyancy to some tracks such as “This Love is Over,” but can’t save others such as the title track from drowning.
Without frequent collaborator Ethan Johns at the mixing board, LaMontagne is free to roam on “God Willin’.” The results are a mixed bag.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.