TO NEW HEIGHTS
David Gray’s solo album White Ladder made him famous, but he’s soon to tour Australia with a new band that includes seven singers
His upcoming Australian visit has been a long time coming, so David Gray plans to grab the opportunity with both hands.
The 46 year-old Englishman is set to appear at Bluesfest at Byron Bay, as well as complete a run of solo shows.
But even after 25 years in the business, the indie-rock veteran doesn’t take anything for granted.
“I love all the shows,” he says.
“They’re all special. I’m more at home in an intimate setting, because so many of my songs tend that way, but I also have expansive songs, so I can deal with the outdoor situations. I’ve been doing it a long time, and I can sense that it’s finite these days.”
Gray last passed our way in 2009, so he’s keen to introduce Australian audiences to his new band.
“It’s great that we’re coming back to do a really meaningful tour this time, with what is a really wonderful incarnation of the band,” he says.
“It features seven people singing, and in order to give voice to this new music, that is what I deemed necessary. It’s quite something when it all cranks up and everybody starts singing away.”
His 1998 breakthrough White Ladder has sold seven million copies and, while much of that album still features in his show, Gray has a new approach to wowing crowds.
“When my voice is in the centre and the mass harmonies are happening in four parts, I sing my solo but everyone else’s is doubled in some way,” he says.
“It gives it this big sound; like a bank of vocals. It’s special to be singing together and is a holy thing, I think.
“It’s as close to the bone as it gets in terms of the spirituality of music.”
With his 10th studio album Mutineers released last year, Gray has a strong body of work to choose from and a wealth of experience in festivals and intimate shows.
A man who has been as successful as Gray could be forgiven for taking an extended holiday, but that’s not on the cards for the singer-songwriter.
“We have (single) Snow in Vegas coming out in America, so if that hits it would mean more offers from promoters,” he says.
“I’m intending to do some solo shows around Europe, and there’ll be some festivals.’’
David Gray plays Byron Bay Bluesfest, Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, April 4.
UK singer-songwriter David Gray is playing Byron Bay’s Bluesfest.