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LIVE REVIEW: Ray Lamontagne

PUBLISHED: 15:41 06 October 2010 | UPDATED: 11:13 14 October 2010

AMERICANA, folk, blues-rock and country all illuminate Ray s oeuvre, and his latest outing with a sublime clutch of top session musicians, The Pariah Dogs, is arguably his most accomplished.

RAY LAMONTAGNE, Bloomsbury Ballroom, Southampton Row, WC1

AMERICANA, folk, blues-rock and country all illuminate Ray's oeuvre, and his latest outing with a sublime clutch of top session musicians, The Pariah Dogs, is arguably his most accomplished.

As the classic blues-rock lick of opener Repo Man rattles around the room, Ray holed up on one side of the stage with his acoustic guitar, their relaxed yet razor-sharp delivery focuses the mind on Ray's pithy, evocative storytelling.

Dressed for the Wild West, Ray's ragged voice injects every syllable with soul, from the doleful isolation of New York City's Killing Me to the yearning, near-desperation narrative of Beg Steal Or Borrow.

By the time he sings "Weight so heavy, mountain so tall, is there no-one who would catch me if I fall?" during Are We Really Through, everyone is under his tortured, beautiful spell.

With the band note-perfect all night it falls to Ray himself to forget the words to For The

Summer. He's not much of a talker, but his deadpan retort to someone's yell of, "So, you're not perfect!" at the song's close, tided him over: "Oh, no... Only in the sack."

Signing off with the excellent Jolene from his debut record, this Ray of broken sunshine was at his best.- STEPHEN MOORE


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