Reviews

From Performing Songwriter magazine:

Differentiating oneself in the burgeoning field of alternative-country artists is a tricky proposition these days, but Dave Ramont stands tall in the crowd. On Scrawny, his third CD, the Chicago-based singer-songwriter imbues his acoustic-based compositions with a rustic charm that’s unfettered and right to the point. Employing a variety of roots-oriented instrumentation that includes banjo, mandolin, and accordion, Ramont constructs minimalist arrangements that frame his sturdy melodies in softly lit settings.

High points on the CD include the cloppity, reggae-tinged “Coat,” the cowboy waltz “I Wanna Marry a Waitress,” and the hymn-like, string laden “Shoestring” (which features fine backing vocals from fellow Chicago singer Marylou O’Brien Fischer).

Pitching in on Scrawny is a tight-knit ensemble that adds subtle musical shades to Ramont’s plucked acoustic guitar and soulful, twang-tinged tenor. Of particular note are Tom Jancauskas (bass), Gerald Dowd (drums), Scott Stevenson (accordion), Larry Rossi (horns), and Dave Nelson (National steel, dobro, and dulcimer).From start to finish, Scrawny glows with a minimalist, incandescent beauty.
 Russell Hall
-Performing Songwriter

From the Chicago area’s Daily Herald:
Scrawny is just what “Scrawny” sounds like. Ramont’s chamber group of folk instrumentalists and harmony singers bring just the minimum to each song, making this album glow with true rootsy beauty.

Ramont has the sly, shy twang of a country soul singer. His song writing shares the mystical eye of Jimmie Dale Gilmore. The backwoods “Devil In Me” reports that the “river don’t speak, but it’s got lots to say.” “Rodeo Clown” is less a punch line than a metaphor for wrecked lives, and “Shoestring,” this album’s knock-out, is an almost childlike portrait of fragility.

Duet singer Marylou O’Brien Fischer provides a soul punch to Ramont’s calm twang while his ensemble of players – from the Salvation-Army style band on “Coat” to the whispery strings on “Shoestring” – bring a level of sophistication, however down-and-out they sound.

This is Ramont’s third album and it’s the finest collection of songwriting I’ve heard in a long time. His quiet humor and scrappy musicianship allow for a hazy country vision with mystery.
 Mark Guarino
-Daily Herald

 

I really felt under the charm of “Scrawny” and it’s always a pleasure to discover a new guy with a real musical personality. I’m looking forward to playing songs off the album.
Raymond Swennen, “Roots Revival”
 Radio ATL Bree, Belgium

 

Very much to my taste! Especially due to detailed and well thought out arrangements. The last song (“Little Brother”) is in my opinion truly classic material. An outstanding song finishing a fine album.
Seppo Vuorio, “Folk & Roots” 
Lahiradio 100.3 MHz
Helsinki, Finland

 

From The Illinois Entertainer:
There’s mighty fine fingerpickin’ and some great folk country tunes on Dave Ramont’s album Scofflaws. Ramont’s raspy warble is perfect for his gentle ballads, but unlike many simplistic roots-revivalists, he isn’t afraid to mix things up. The terrific waltz “Festival” benefits from a stately brass arrangement, and gorgeously unexpected accordions and cellos pop up elsewhere on the wonderfully produced CD.

 

The Austin Chronicle said:
The world could always use another quality singer-songwriter with meaty lyrics, gritty vocals and a tight back-up band.

 

“Please, I’m begging you, shut the hell up down there.”
–Bill, Dave’s neighbor