Longtime Austin, Texas resident Ray Bonneville was born & raised in Quebec, was a bush pilot in the North and worked as a sideman for years before heading out on a solo career. At King Electric is his ninth album since then, his Gust of Wind winning the Blues JUNO in 1999. King Electric is a studio in Austin and Stonefly is a new label for Ray, many of his earlier albums being on Red House but still available. As on those earlier discs, Bonneville’s songs are vignettes about people, real or imagined, and there’s a full cast on this new one. With his electric guitar & harmonica and with a few other players, he spins tales set to his usual toe tapping grooves. The opening “Waiting On The Night” paints an evocative portrait of a sleepless, lonely traveller. An uptempo, full band “Next Card To Fall” has a very catchy melody for its tale of chance encounters. “South Of The Blues” is a rather novel way of describing our narrator’s state of despair at another failed relationship. “It’ll Make A Hole In You” deals with a chance encounter in a bar with a woman who tells her life story, a story so sad that our narrator cannot forget it – a very different but very effective blues. An addict’s life of despair and resignation dominates “Codeine”, a solo blues with a most memorable harmonica solo. A somewhat happier tune is the hard rocking “Until Such A Day”, which concerns a couple who’ve agreed to keep their respective secrets to themselves. With lead guitar, keyboards, bass and drums keeping those infectious rhythms going, Bonneville sings about real problems yet he always seems to find the humanity in his characters. If you’re near Sault St. Marie this month, you might find him fishing and writing songs for his next album. His web site is www.raybonneville.com.

September 2018 - Carolyn Fe
September 2018 - catl