Album Review

Ray Bonneville - Roll it Down

Ray Bonneville - Roll It Down

Few can ride a groove like Canada-born, U.S.-raised Ray Bonneville. Peppering his deceptively easy-going blues with dollops of country and folk, the weary-voiced singer-songwriter digs into a hypnotic, propulsive rhythm on his fifth album that grabs hold of your collar from the opener, "Tomorrow's Yesterday", and lingers long after the closing track, "I Been A Train". Along the way, Bonneville, who now shares his time between Montreal and Arkansas, treats us to his usual smart, often wry observations about life's vagaries and its occasional transient blessings. Time slips away before we've noticed, love comes and goes, contentment gets blindsided in the wink of an eye. It all seems so unjust, but Bonneville is no whiner. Instead, confronted with a thoroughly senseless universe, he limbers up his thumb and index finger (the only digits he needs for those wonderful percussive moments on his guitar), flexes his ankle (that's Bonneville's foot you hear keeping time on most tracks), and invites session players such as blues guitarist Colin Linden and B3 organist Richard Bell (whose credits include Janis Joplin's Pearl) to ward off the blues with some blues. Entirely satisfying, Roll It Down is a fine primer for Bonneville newcomers and a must-have for fans. If you like this album, you might also track down 1999's Gust Of Wind, Bonneville's third disc and the deserving winner of a Juno, Canada's equivalent of a Grammy.