Review: Ray Bonneville – On The Blind Side


Ray Bonneville - On The Blind Side

Ray Bonneville – On The Blind Side
Format: CD – Digital / Label: Independent
Release: 2023

Tekst: Bert van Kessel

Quebec veteran Ray Bonneville has crafted his own unique style of folky blues with his characteristic voice and the continuously driving rhythms. At 74, he has added another fine album, his tenth,  to his impressive body of work. He is very adept at painting exquisite vignettes with a fine pencil, and this time he takes us on an introspective journey brought about by the quiet days of the lockdowns.

His latest release fits seamlessly among his previous nine relaeses, which a critical voice might dub as monotony, but why change a winning team? As usual he digs deep and his compelling voice easily wins he listener over to accompany him on his soulsearching travels in these nine originals which he co-produced with Will Sexton, who also features on guitar and bass. Also in his current team are longtime collaborators Ritchie Lawrence (on keys), drummer Rick Richards and bassplayer Amy LaVere.

Although he does touch upon delicate topics such as the mistakes he made in his lifetime ( in the outstanding title track) the uptempo musical accompaniment often makes sure to add an optimistic touch, most notably so on the cheerful opening track Lucky Moon but definitely not so on the dark Night Cab, in which he tells a true, dramatic story from his days as a taxi driver.

Time and again Ray Bonneville proves himself a gifted storyteller; he really makes his protaginists come alive, especially so on Oh The Night Is Long, on which Rick Richards displays some intriguingly funky drumming, and Never Get The Love Thing Right  on which Ritchie Lawrence excels on the electric piano; these are haunting tracks  that refuse to let go of you. The driving electric guitars on Made Yourself a Home push Ray to some truly  immersive vocals, which turn this track into my favourite one.

Ray rounds off the album with a wise lesson of life in Even With Time, proclaiming that time does not heal everything as some thoughts will haunt you forever.

Although the music stops here, Ray Bonneville’s almost hypnotic songs  linger on long afterwards.

01. Lucky Moon
02. Oh The Night Is Long
03. The Way It Was Before
04. Never Get The Love Thing Right
05. On The Blind Side
06. Night Cab
07. Made Yourself A Home
08. Streetcar Man
09. Even With Time