Ray Bonneville,
Roll It Down
(Stony Plain, 2003)

Ray Bonneville's latest release on Stony Plain is Roll It Down, a smooth and seductive collection that pulls the listener in immediately and never loses its grip.

Ray has spent the last 30 years performing in cities like Paris, New Orleans and Nashville, which may account for both his chops and the sense of worldly wisdom that comes through in his songs.

An excellent Claptonesque blues guitarist with a friendly and engaging voice, Bonneville takes us on a series of enjoyable journeys here. He walks us through "Under the Bridge," "Walk With Me" ("Would it be alright if I fell in beside you here on the sidewalk...") and "Tiptoe Spider" ("I got long legs/they don't leave no tracks/make my way quiet/all through the house like that..."). He evokes a train in "Oxford Town" and a Greyhound bus in "Who's Talkin' To Me." That song is one of my favourites on the record, with the lyrics "A voice said man get your things/get up off them old box springs" and other good lines as well.

Bonneville's songs are simple, sophisticated and smart in both melody and lyric content. Each one is delivered with precision, confidence and considerable panache.

Roll It Down was produced by Rob Heaney, Colin Linden and Bonneville. They keep the arrangements simple enough to spotlight Bonneville's vocals and guitar, adding just the right musical touches to add to the atmosphere. Linden contributes bass, baritone guitar and mandolin, joining musicians including Geoff Arsenault on percussion, Richard Bell on keyboards, and Brad Hayes on additional lead guitar.

Roll it Down is a satisfying record from start to finish and one which should further solidify Bonneville's reputation as a fine performer.

- Rambles
written by Joy McKay
published 13 December 2003