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Ray Bonneville (from the album On the Blind Side available on Stonefly Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
Ten albums on, Ray Bonneville continues to purvey his easy, subtle mix of Blues and Americana with his usual casual, unassuming approach. He’s a musician who knows the true value of allowing the space between notes to find the same focus as those that set the tone and tempo.
Then again, Ray Bonneville doesn’t have anything to prove. After a recording career that stretches back more than 30 years, one which has garnered him critical acclaim and an enthusiastic following in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He’s also reaped any number of prestigious awards, including a Juno (Canada’s equivalent of a Grammy), recognition from the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge and a Song of the Year Award from Folk Alliance, not to mention a wealth of airplay as well. Ronnie Hawkins and Slaid Cleaves are among those who have covered his songs, and he’s also shared stages with Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Dr. John, J.J. Cale, and Robert Cray. In addition, he’s guested on albums by Mary Gauthier, Gurf Morlix, Eliza Gilkyson, and Ray Wylie Hubbard, among various others. He’s performed at various renowned gatherings throughout the world, including South by Southwest, Folk Alliance, and the Montreal International Jazz Festival, all while performing over 100 shows when he’s not home in his native Austin Texas.
Consequently, it’s little surprise that On the Blind Side ranks as one of Bonneville’s most accessible efforts yet. There’s nothing that feels hurried, cluttered or unnecessary. Rather, songs such as “Streetcar Man”, “Even with Time”, “Lucky Man”, and “Oh the Night Is Long” come across as easy, unassuming, and seemingly effortless melodic excursions, all flush with a somewhat dry demeanor and a decidedly unaffected attitude. Nine original songs in all, they feature contributions from several similarly notable musicians, among them, Will Sexton on bass and guitar, Amy La Vere on upright bass and drummer Rick Richards.
So too, despite the steady stride, there’s a subtle blend of emotion expressed as well, from the optimism of the aforementioned “Lucky Moon” to the somewhat mysterious and mesmerizing “Night Cab”, a song borne from Ray Bonneville’s experience as a cab driver in Boston. It brings to mind Dylan at his darkest.
As a whole however, On the Blind Side provides a welcome respite. That’s despite the album’s final track, “Even with Time”, a song that offers a contrary opinion to the familiar adage ‘time heals all things’. That hardly matters though. For the moment anyway, On the Blind Side provides is own comforting embrace. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Ray Bonneville from AMAZON
For more information, please visit the Ray Bonneville website
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