Reviews:: Richard Laviolette & The Oils Spills All of Your Raw Materials (re-release)

Sometimes the best records float by unnoticed. Case in point Richard Laviolette‘s All of Your Raw Materials. The 2009 independent release showcased Laviolette’s honest song writing and fantastic voice - one rich in personality and charisma - bolstered by a collection of talented friends (Meredith Grant, Lisa Bozikovic, Mathias Kom, Jenny Mitchell and Mike Brooks to name a few) and still almost no one paid attention (yes, I missed it too).


Thankfully the good people at You’ve Changed records did. Daniel Romano’s grass roots label is slowly becoming home for some of Canada’s most under appreciated musicians and Richard & The Oil Spills couldn’t have found a better place to land. As Romano’s solo release and his stunning collaboration with Fred & Julie proved, You’ve Changed is not looking for singles, just music that makes the artist proud and forces their friends to sing-along. Laviolette gives his talented friends the chance to sing and play songs about death, love and loss, but somehow moves the whole affair to the kitchen and give it a distinctly homey feel. Instead of the tendency to push any working class emotion into some ill formed proletariat agenda, Laviolette embraces the glorious freedom of the hard working man and the simpler life style that accompanies him.


The whole record displays a musical liberty - every arrangement feels spontaneous as sounds appear tastefully and peel off respectfully from the opening moments of the disc (Snuck Right Up) until the last notes of aptly titled Yes, I Mean it All - and benefits from spirited group vocals that will put a smile will on the face of the most melancholic malcontent, but make no mistake, the styles and players fit together seamlessly. Lisa’s piano plink delightfully over guitar, banjo, steel and really frames some of the most precious moments of this genuine musical experience; one that never gets clouded or confused despite the impressive amount of contributors. Even when multiple vocalists that take charge on Body Maps, we are hit with a singular vision and one of the many highlights unearthed in this gripping 55-minute collection.


Each time I listen to the record, I find a new favorite song (today, it’s the delightful contrast of the steel and ramshackle melody of Two Hinges) but when the musicians come together perfectly on the album standout, Funeral Song, a song that feels more like a Sunday song than its atheist ideals should warrant, we get reminded of what’s important; friends, family, smiles, a few drinks and music playing until the first sign of the morning sun. Much like the most recent releases on Laviolette’s new label, All of Your Raw Materials renews your faith in music by reminding us that it’s not a business, but art that should be shared and embraced.


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MP3:: Richard Laviolette & the Oil Spills - Funeral Song




This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 19th, 2010 at 1:12 pm and is filed under Best-of '09, Canada, Music, Reviews, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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