Ray LaMontagne, ‘God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise’ (RCA)

There’s not much emotional nuance in Ray LaMontagne’s fourth album, which maintains a brokenhearted downer elegance, similar to Neil Young at his most somber and sepia-toned, sung in a beautiful wail that Van Morrison might envy. Pedal steel, banjos, and subdued tempos contribute to the rustic vibe, and LaMontagne sounds like he’s dying to crawl under the nearest rock in the woods. “There’s just something about this hotel / Got me wishing I was dead,” he sighs to begin “New York City’s Killing Me.” Maybe God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise is his Walden.




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