This is the title track from American singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne's fourth studio album. On the record LaMontagne is backed by his band his band The Pariah Dogs, which consists of drummer Jay Bellerose, bassist Jennifer Condos, keyboardist Patrick Warren, guitarist Eric Haywood and pedal-steel virtuoso Greg Leisz.
LaMontagne told Jam! Music about the recording of God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise: "My house has this enormous room that used to be a barn in the 1800s. Around 1900, the house belonged to the first US ambassador to Russia and they turned the barn into... I guess you'd call it a great room or a ballroom. So it has this big space that I thought would be perfect to make music in. I loved the idea of not having to go England, or New York or Los Angeles. It's nice to work on your own schedule at your own pace.
Every morning about 11, we'd meet at this place called Elmer's a mile or so down the road," he continued. "Then we'd come here and I would play them something and we would just go for it. We'd usually get a take in about two hours, and we did two tracks a day. We did the whole album in five days, and spent another five days mixing.
That's something that hasn't happened with me in the past," LaMontagne added regarding his previous albums with producer Ethan Johns, who played most of the instruments himself. "It's always been really difficult to get any kind of momentum in the studio. But spending six weeks in the studio for what I do? I mean, I'm not Radiohead. I can understand that they gotta take some time to create that. But the records I love were made in a matter of days by bands that played together all the time."
LaMontagne recalled the evolution of this song to Artist Direct: "It was tricky. It was taking its time revealing itself to me. I just had this melody that I was whistling - the pedal steel part at the beginning - running over those chords. Once the lyrics started, they drove the song pretty quickly. It took awhile for that lyric to reveal itself. Two verses into it, I started to realize it was a letter. Then it became clear it was a letter from a cow-punch back to his gal. He's writing back to her wondering if he can see her again. Once that revealed itself, the music followed that this time, which is a little different than how it's been in the past. The music flows like a letter as well. There's no repeating chorus; it just reads top to bottom. It was an interesting experiment to try."
God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise won the 2011 Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album. When asked by the Press after the ceremony if he consider himself a contemporary folk artist, LaMontagne replied. "Not in the least. When I think folk music, I think topical songs and I don't write topical songs. I've seen some good friends [tonight], and now I'm going to do some drinking and some dancing."