David Gray – Foundling
Haunting. Somber. Dark. Sorrowful. Mysterious. All of these words can be used to describe David Gray’s new album, Foundling. There are 11 tracks on the album, and a bonus disc with 8 more songs. When I first started listening to this new material, I was a bit surprised. It was so stripped down and understated. It seemed to be missing those layers of intricacy I know in Gray’s music… and the momentum and build up in the songs just wasn’t there. But the more I listen, the more I realize that each piece of every tune is still crafted just as carefully as anything we’ve heard from him. And overall, the material is just as sad (depressing, even) as anything Gray has written. It’s still very much David Gray.
The first track (my favorite track), “Only The Wine” has a playful and light melody but the following 9 tracks are incredibly slow and could lull you to sleep if you were tired. The title track, “Foundling” is exceptional. With a haunting accordion moan, low saxophone blasts, and hand drums, the tune pulls you in from start to finish. Throughout the rest of the album you’ll find beautiful piano-work and gorgeous string sections (as one would expect from David Gray). Track 11, “Davey Jones’ Locker”, picks up a bit to finish the album and on the bonus disc, there are a few fun, upbeat tunes like “Indeed I Will” and “A Moment Changes Everything”. As always, Gray knows how to pluck at heart strings with lines like “I’m fluttering like a dollar to the floor” and “we are just passing ghosts, honey, vapours of joy and hurt” sang in his unmistakable, pain-filled voice.
I think this album will definitely be deemed a snoozer by some folks. But Gray’s aim wasn’t to make a big impact with this record… in fact, by naming the album Foundling he deemed this material as the abandoned child of last year’s album, Draw the Line. Gray has even been quoted as saying, “This record is going to disappear off the face of the Earth, bar some freak occurrence.” So take from this new material what you will… but for me, Foundling is the perfect album for a certain mood. These songs will be my ideal soundtrack to the swirling of dead fall leaves and the gray smear of a Vineyard winter sky.
Listen to clips of all 11 songs here!
I can’t quite say I like David Gray better than Ray LaMontagne since the two are so incredibly different. That’s part of what made the show so good! LaMontagne’s set was a heaping helping of one of the most heartfelt and soulful voices you’ve ever heard followed by Gray’s tender but raw and emotional wall of sound. There’s just something about David Gray’s music that cuts to the core of me and finally seeing him live in concert was nothing short of spectacular.
He played a mix of old and new tunes, definitely getting the crowd riled up right away. Each and every song was so epic and ended with such power, you’d think it was the final song of the night. “Fugitive” was the perfect start to the set with its booming drums and gorgeous buildup. Here’s his complete setlist:
2. “Stella the Artist”
3. “Be Mine”
4. “The One I Love”
5. “Now and Always”
7. “Sail Away”
8. “The Other Side”
9. “We Could Fall in Love Again Tonight” [solo]
10. “Shine” [solo]
12. “Please Forgive Me”
13. “This Year’s Love”
I was so psyched to hear “Jackdaw” which is my favorite track from 2009’s Draw The Line, and “Please Forgive Me”, my favorite from White Ladder (2000). But the best moment of the set for me was when his (incredible) band walked offstage, leaving Gray alone with his guitar to play a tune from his new album Foundling followed by “Shine” – the first David Gray song I ever heard. The lyrics are so sad but so moving and it was amazing to stand there watching him belt them out…
“For all that we struggle, for all we pretend
It don’t come down to nothing except love in the end.
And ours is a road that is strewn with goodbyes,
but as it unfolds, as it all unwinds…
remember your soul is the one thing you can’t compromise
Take my hand…We’re gonna go where we can shine”
At the end of the night, David Gray and Ray LaMontagne performed a song together. I can’t be sure, but I think it was the Bee Gees tune, “In the Morning”. The crowd was AMPED to see them up there side by side, but the rocky duet was a true testament to how different their sounds are. Their guitar playing, their voices, and their energy levels didn’t mix well when put together, but seeing their sets back to back was an amazing musical experience I won’t soon forget.
David Gray – Draw The Line
This album keeps impressing me over and over. It’s got such solid tracks…”Fugitive”, “Jackdaw”, “Stella The Artist”, “Nemesis”…I could go on and on! And listening to the album as a whole is a great experience too. From start to finish, I believe Draw The Line is David Gray’s best material since White Ladder. Despite the fact that it came out in September, it’s definitely one of my most listened to albums of 2009.
Draw The Line
David Gray’s new album, Draw The Line, might be his most solid work since White Ladder. After hearing the single, “Fugitive” I was very excited to get the entire album onto my iPod, where I’d have some quality alone time with it. I did just that this past weekend, listening from start to finish about 3 times. I wasn’t disappointed…and the new material was definitely worth the four-year wait. What I love most about these tunes is that they have such depth. When I listened for the 3rd time, it was like I was listening for the first time…hearing something I didn’t hear before.
Draw The Line features guest vocalists Jolie Holland and Annie Lennox. My favorite tracks include “Nemesis”, “Jackdaw”, and “First Chance”. The album’s title track has a haunting feel to it, with a hypnotizing melody. Overall the record has a darker tone, but there are definitely a few lighter, more uplifting tracks.
“Fugitive” still might be my absolute favorite…with a driving guitar and a gospel choir adding to the full, rich sound. Here’s the official music video:
Ultimately, David Gray has created an album that is new yet familiar. The lyrics are deep but accessible. The instrumentation is woven together to create some really beautiful material. If you’ve like what you’ve heard from David Gray in the past, I think you’ll like Draw The Line.