This is a CD that could only have been done by a guy who has lived a few years and seen many of the trials and tribulations that life has to offer. It also offers to the listener the savvy of a guy who uses that experience to tell tales that echo life as we live it. As different as the happenings of one's existence, Ray brings a varied approach to his outlook on life. From a hip almost 60's sound to some terrific bluesy guitar work and even a touch of Motown finds its way into this very potent disc. Ray also adds a touch of humor and an irony to his lyrics that reminds me of the tales that Warren Zevon gave to us all. He might not be writing about the jungles of Biafra but he does take us through some of the thick underbrush of everyday life.
Remember the movie Eddie and the Cruisers? This disc makes me think of a scene from that film. Eddie was talking about his craft with his lyricist and says: "Words and music, they need each other". Ray Gilman seems to have the same outlook as he puts as much emphasize on what he says as he does with the music that delivers his message. This is not to say that Let It Go is a deep philosophical album, far from it. It is a disc that deals with ordinary feelings and events and tells them in a way that everyone can relate to.
Take the first song on the CD "Tell Me What I Want To Hear". With a rollicking old time rock and roll feel, Ray brings a good dose of humor into a situation that all of us has been in at one time or another. He has a genuine knack for creating lyrics that echo the sentiment that yeah, I have been there too! This song sets the standard for what will follow. Using a medium that almost feels like one of the power pop bands from the late 60's or early 70's he creates a fun atmosphere that sucks you in and holds you for another 9 episodes on the disc. Just don't expect to stay in this nostalgic mode as he hits you from a few different perspectives along the road.
Ray uses a different angle when he gives you a soulful blend in the song "Workin'" which reminds me of the band Rare Earth. Add some terrific guitar work and you have another catchy song that sticks to you like glue. Being from Michigan I grew up on music like this and Gilman seems to have a fondness for it too.
There are two instrumental songs on the album. The first "Lightnin' Boogie" is a guitar romp which shows that Ray certainly knows his way around the fretboard. The second is called "Power Struggle" and it seems like the struggle is between keyboards and guitar for dominance. Both songs are highlights that emphasize the fact that Ray has as much musical ability as he does with penning terrific lyrics. These interludes are both powerful statements in their own right and will delight all who enjoy a good musical frolicking especially the second song where Ray takes you on a journey that has so many peaks and valleys, twist and turns that you best bet is to just strap yourself in tight for the carnival ride you are about to take.
While I am listening to the title track "Let It Go" it strikes me that Ray sounds a lot like Joe Walsh when he sings. He also has Joe's sense of humor when it comes to music. This combination has made Let It Go a frequent flyer in my CD player. It might not be an earth shattering musical event but instead is a disc that is just a whole lot of fun and one you will enjoy time and time again.
1. Tell Me What I Want To Hear
3. Let It Go
4. Lighnin' Boogie
5. Far Away
6. Time To Leave
7. Troubled Mind
8. Friends Until The End
10. Power Struggle