Ray Bonneville Goin' By Feel

Could there be a more apt title for Ray’s sixth release? He’s been delivering artfully crafted character studies and astute observations on life since 1996’s Solid Ground. The ex-pat Canadian serves up earnest fare with a consistency and confidence that, as laidback as his approach his, continually cover the distance. His well-oiled vocals recall, at times, Dylan and J.J. Cale, while his tasteful guitar and harp accompaniment provide all the flash he ever needs. The songs stand alone, rarely changing in tempo between a restful walk and a measured shuffle as each tale unfolds. Soft-spoken flourishes by guests Eliza Gilkyson and Gurf Murlix barely cause a ripple across 12 tracks but that’s exactly the point. Bonneville delivers his songs as straightforwardly as possible, the lyrics carried on a gentle groove largely driven by the artist’s own accompaniment. This is nothing too fancy, a deceptively simple soundtrack for life augmented by seductive guitar lines that weave through each composition. This is no party pack; it’s a hot summer drive down a familiar road with the windows down. Jolee runs. The Sabine flows. And everyone knows what Katy did. (Red House)