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Thursday, 07 August 2014 08:30

Charting the Music: Ray Bonneville, 'Easy Gone'

Charting the Music: Ray Bonneville, 'Easy Gone'
Written by Julian Loida
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A dark, foggy night puts visibility at zero. Footprints on a muddy road lead to a house. A man sits on the porch alone with a world full of memories and a hollow-body guitar full of stories -- this man is none other than Ray Bonneville.

"Easy Gone" by Ray Bonneville is a collection of songs of a man's second end of innocence, that time when he realizes he no longer has the strength he remembers. Bonneville tells this hard, honest story in a no-rush, Delta-blues style.

88.1 KDHX chart position: #5 Americana and #12 Adult Album Alternative for the week of July 29, 2014.

Record label, release date and producer: Red House Records released "Easy Gone" on April 15, 2014. It was produced by Ray Bonneville and Justin Douglas.

Can be heard on: Backroads with Stacy and Music at Work with Curt.

RIYL: J.J. Cale and oozing Delta Blues.

Hometown: Quebec, Canada.

Standout tracks: The album begins mysteriously, moving to a blues but finally reaching its full potential with the song "Where Has My Easy Gone." The intimacy of the song brings to mind images of Bonneville at dusk walking alone through the swampy woods of Louisiana. On this mundane journey he begins asking himself the same question anyone who is fortunate enough to reach a later age might ask: "When did I slow down?" Bonneville sings. "When did my memory start slipping, when did I lose what I worked for? It all use to be so easy...Where has my easy gone?" Bonneville writes clearly and honestly bringing to mind the sounds of Hank Williams to whom he pays tribute. Bonneville covers Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," a lofty undertaking, but he is able to bring a dual quality to this standard. He brings to the forefront the beautiful poetry of Williams as well as the original style of Bonneville's Delta feel. The slow, greasy groove moves this song along like a funeral march. Bonneville shows his true understanding of what it means to be a troubadour with his cover of this country standard.

Play it while: "Easy Gone" absorbs into the skin best while watching another humid summer day's sun set over the distant hills with a dog on the left and a beer on the right.

About the artist: Bonneville hails originally from Quebec but as a child he moved to Boston, where he grew up and began to learn guitar. Bonneville toured with blues-rock bands and eventually opened for the likes of Muddy Waters and B.B. King. As Bonneville soaked up more sounds, he became highly influenced by the music of Louisiana. "There's something about the heat and humidity that makes people slow down," he has said. "New Orleans is where I learned to take my time, to allow space between the notes so the songs could truly groove." (Wikipedia)

Awards and accolades: Bonneville first received a Juno Award for his 1999 album "Gust of Wind" and then was later awarded with the International Folk Alliance's 2009 Song of the Year after his post-Katrina song "I am the Big Easy."

What the critics say: American Songwriter writes that Bonneville's biography is "too diffuse and sprawling to recap here, but it's packed with world travels that have provided him with enough observations about the human condition to fill many albums with perceptive songs.... Credit goes to producer Justin Douglas who captures Bonneville's distinct sound in a sympathetic, atmospheric environment. He combines a stripped down band...with a late night, uncluttered simplicity perfectly in sync with Bonneville's descriptive yet often dreamy lyrics."

Did you know: Bonneville has a commercial pilot's licence which he received to overcome his fear of flight.

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