23 November, 2008

Ray LaMontaigne Sings "a sweetly tortured song" of Winter

Winter Birds from Ray's new album Gossip in the Grain strikes right to the heart. Ray's Winter is a farm widow with an angry plough, fallow fields, and a fox sleeping beneath the kitchen floor. And, perhaps not so coincidentally, Winter is placed on a farm suffering from neglect:

"The stream can't contain such the withering rain,
and from the pasture the fence it is leaning away.
The clouds crack and growl
like some great cat on the prowl
crying out, "I am, I am" over and over again."

But even in winter, there are lovers:

"The days grow short/as the nights grow long.
The kettle sings its tortured songs.
A many-petalled kiss I place upon her brow.
Oh, my lady, Lady I am loving you now."

I find this song very moving, with its earthy imagery, farm and kitchen setting, and birds giving voices to the trees. There are echoes of old tales, and a conscious focus on nature fitting this planetary time when we are starting to appreciate that we are losing the last bits of it.



Ruahines said...

Kia ora VJ,
We were having a quiet celebration of Tara's birthday this past Saturday evening, and at one point I put on Ray's album, Trouble, which I had not listened to in sometime. I sort of withdrew and positioned myself to listen as it really is a beautiful album and a good friend came and joined me, saying she had not listened to this in sometime as well. We just sat and enjoyed the music. Ray has a very dark countenance which he relates to, and walks beside, in a seemingly uneasy truce. I can relate.
I said to my friend I worry about him sometimes, and had not heard anything from him since Till the Sun Turns Black, which was a few years now. So to read this from you today, to watch this video is very cool. I will get this cd today. His voice has taken on more resonance and depth, just beautiful.
Kia ora for sharing VJ. I shall think of you when I listen to Ray.

vegetablej said...


Happy birthday to Tara! Glad you liked the song. I haven't gotten the whole album yet but you can hear a few more songs if you look under the video at the small video squares when it finishes playing. Did you realize you could click on the little expanding square under the video and it would full-size on your screen right in the blog? I just realized that yesterday. Nice feature.

I think Ray is more resilient than we think. I hear he has bought a farm for his family and has been renovating himself, doing the carpentry work. And I think he is still on tour with this latest record. Guess he just hates the hoopla and is shy in front of an audience, something I can well undertand. :)

Take care.


Ruahines said...

Kia ora VJ,
Just stopping by to wish a beautiful and wonderful Yuletide Season.
By the way, I got the Ray cd and love it! What do you think of Bruce Cockburn? Hope all is well, have a cool day.

vegetablej said...

Hi Robb:

I dropped by your blog yesterday to read your thoughts on Thanksgiving. Nice pictures of your family in the old days. Cherish your memories because you can't go back. Even if you went home, it would all be different and you might find yourself feeling the same way, remembering the old days with nostalgia and missing those who have passed or moved on.

Holiday season is a hard one for me. Coming home is not all I thought it would be. Funny thing about life; the only way to get through it is to keep adapting and learning. Not always the easiest of things to do, but we try, don't we?

Happiness to you and your family at Christmas.

"And it was said of him that if anyone know how to keep Christmas it was he. May that be truly said of us and all of us!" I'd love to hear about what "new" traditions you and your family have made in New Zealand. Maybe a blog?

Warmest wishes!


vegetablej said...


Forgot your question about Bruce Cockburn. I liked his music quite a bit in the old days, especially the anti-war stuff. I haven't heard him lately. Do you know of something new and if so what do you think?

Annie Donwerth Chikamatsu said...

Glad to find your blog. And this! What a treasure!

vegetablej said...

Welcome, Annie:

Ray is a treasure indeed!


Aparna said...

Thanks for this great song, I really like it.