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Ray LaMontagne - Gossip in the Grain - RCA Records

On his third album, Gossip in the Grain, Ray LaMontagne breaks out of his own mold a bit, relying less on lamenting love loss and seemingly is more centered on expanding into more hopeful musical territories . The album's opening track is evidence. "You Are the Best Thing" is perhaps, up to this point, the most optimistic we've ever heard Ray.

Throughout Gossip in the Grain Ray travels stylistically from the down-home, banjo laden "Hey Me, Hey Mama" to the jazzy and delicate "Sarah" to the ironically simplistic ode to "Meg White" (walking a line of playful and creepy). The ambitious and adventurous approach to Gossip in the Grain is a credit to both Ray and producer Ethan Johns, who was behind the board on both Trouble and Till The Sun Turns Black.

While Ray appears more confident and daring on this new effort, the vulnerability that was so endearing too many still does exist. Tracks like "Let It Be Me" and "I Still Care For You" could easily accompany any of Ray's earlier works.

Gossip in the Grain continues to establish Ray as an important voice and really is the progression you expect yet so rarely receive from your favorite artists.

Written by Mike Vasilikos, Asst. Music Director

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