Ray Bonneville review…September 7, 2018….

RAY BONNEVILLE

AT KING ELECTRIC

STONEFLY RECORDS

WAITING ON THE NIGHT–NEXT CARD TO FALL–TENDER HEART–SOUTH OF THE BLUES–IT’LL MAKE A HOLE IN YOU–CODEINE–UNTIL SUCH A DAY–PAPACHULALAY–THE DAY THEY LET ME OUT–FOREVER GONE–RIVERSIDE DRIVE

Austin-based Ray Bonneville’s life is the very definition of “traveling troubadour.”  Born in Quebec, his family moved to Boston when he was twelve, where young Ray learned English and guitar.  He pulled a stint in Vietnam, and later lived in several places that included, Alaska, New Orleans, and Paris, France.  He never had any children of his own, and considers those he has met and written about over the course of his career as his extended musical family.  His is a life full of unforgettable characters, many of whom inhabit the lyrics of his latest album, the eleven originals of “At King Electric.”  Ray is on vocals, guitar, and harp, and the songs deal with the ups and downs of everyday life, and how folks cope.  The songs are stripped-down to their bare essence, and convey a roots-blues-themed vibe.

Opening the program is “Waiting On The Night,” as our hero laments a broken love affair, complete with that “suitcase under the bed, full of things left unsaid.”  “The Next Card To Fall” is full of those down-on-their-luck characters who believe that “next card” will be their big break.  “Codeine,” and its dark-hued guitar lines, deals with battling addictions, while a life on the road full of one-night stands is spelled out in vivid detail on “It’ll Put A Hole In You,” and your soul, too.

Our favorite was another poignant song about a man down to his last hope.  Imprisoned with a pending release date on the horizon, we learn that “the old man” has already been “put in the ground,” so he appeals to his estranged brother, asking “will you come for me The Day They Let Me Out.”  Richie Lawrence’s stark piano adds to the darkness of this cut, also.

Ray Bonneville continues to draw from a deep wellspring of personal experience to create songs to which we can all relate.  Take a cool journey down Life’s Highway that’ll end up “At King Electric!”   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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