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Ray Bonneville

Bad Man'd Blood

(Red House; US: 30 Aug 2011; UK: 3 Oct 2011)

Sweet blues

Ray Bonneville sings the sweet blues, songs of sometime despair with the sound of hope somewhere in the music. He complements this atmosphere with righteous guitar licks on both the acoustic and electric guitar. Bonneville allows the silences between chords talk as forcefully as what he plays, just as he lets the stillness between the words to his songs sing louder than his articulated phrasing.


He also has a sense of humor, so that even the mean hearted tunes—much like the title track—come off more as a story with a moral more than a real life drama about a kid with a father in prison. And when Bonneville means to be funny, as in the appropriately titled “Funny ‘Bout Love”, there is something delightful about the whole set up. He reminds us to “think of the good times not the bad”, which is always good advice. Even when Bonneville reminds us that we can’t change our situations, he helps us change our attitude. The songs on this disc remind us of danger, real grief and pain—but that’s life. It beats the alternative.

Rating:

Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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24 Jan 2008
The disc has a sprawling intimacy whose many moods go all over the places of the human heart.
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