I expected to like Gray’s new release Mutineers; what I didn’t anticipate is that I would really, really like it.
I’ve long been a casual David Gray fan. I put on his music when I’m feeling chill; somehow his mellow melodies lift me up while calming me at the same time.
That said, I expected to like Gray’s new release Mutineers; what I didn’t anticipate is that I would really, really like it. Don’t get me wrong: Mutineers is pure Gray through and through. (How could it be anything but with that distinctive voice?) But it’s a little more bubbly, a little more adult contemporary mainstream (if there is such a thing). I find myself singing along, fully engaged in the songs. For me, the artist has emerged out of the soothing, comfortable background and into the forefront of my listening consciousness.
Mutineers opens with “Back in the World,” a toe-tapping song that makes me want to sing (which, depending on my environment, I occasionally do). “As the Crow Flies” is aching and yearning, finding Gray wishing he had given it his all, rather than just a part of himself. Ultimately, as the song surges and rises, he urges his baby to “take all of me wise.” Next up, the title track is a subdued love song, a glorious celebration of two people coming together.
Woodwinds kick of the tentative “Beautiful Agony,” on which Gray’s restrained vocals call to mind the gentle grace of Damien Rice. After the restrained “Last Summer,” the folk-rock of “Snow in Vegas” soars with Gray’s powerful voice, pedal steel, and Las Vegas hotel room magic. “I want my cake and eat it,” the singer/songwriter proclaims next, his vocals laid smoothly across a carefully plucked acoustic guitar. Haunting strings introduce “Birds of the High Arctic,” a mellow track on which the vocals are front and center.
More pedal steel steers “The Incredible” toward the realm of alt-country; this gives way to the piano-driven “Girl Like You,” my favorite song on the album. “Don’t know what you are to me/ Don’t know where I want to be,” Gray admits before conceding, “but I’m working on it.” Mutineers wraps up with “Gulls,” another haunting tune with a dominant piano.
In addition to a shiny new album, David Gray has another gift for his fans: a rare U.S. tour. Pick up Mutineers and sing along at the concert, a perfect opportunity to slow summer’s inevitable march toward fall. B+| Laura Hamlett
David Gray 2014 U.S. Tour Dates
08.01 | Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, Boston
08.04 | Theatre at Madison Square Garden, New York
08.05 | Tower Theatre, Upper Darby, PA
08.07 | Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
08.08 | Uptown Amphitheatre at the Music Factory, Charlotte, NC
08.09 } The Historic Ryman Auditorium, Nashville
08.11 | The Red Hat Amphitheater, Raleigh, NC
08.12 | Chastain Park Amphitheatre, Atlanta
08.13 | Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park, Indianapolis
08.15 | Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica, Cleveland
08.16 | PNC Pavilion, Cincinnati
08.17 | Meadow Brook, Rochester Hills, MI
08.18 | FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, Chicago
08.20 | Paramount Theatre, Denver
08.21 | Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre, Salt Lake City
08.22 | Idaho Botanical Garden, Boise
08.23 | Edgefield, Troutdale, OR
08.25 | Marymoor Park Concerts, Redmond, WA
08.26 | Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, BC
08.28 | Paramount Theatre, Oakland, CA
08.29 | Silver Legacy Casino, Reno
08.30 | The Joint @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas
08.31 | Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre, San Diego
09.03 | Greek Theatre, Los Angeles
09.21 | Comerica Theatre, Phoenix
09.23 | Majestic Theatre, Dallas
09.24 | ACL Live at Moody Theatre, Austin
09.26 | Saenger Theatre, New Orleans
09.27 | Bayou Music Theatre, Houston
09.29 | Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, FL
09.30 | Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theatre, Miami Beach
10.04 | Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, NJ
10.05 | Toyota Presents Oakdale Theatre, Wallingford, CT
10.07 | Massey Hall, Toronto
10.09 | Palace Theatre, Louisville, KY
10.10 | Benedum Center, Pittsburgh
10.11 | Palace Theatre, Columbus, OH
10.12 | Riverside Theatre, Milwaukee
10.14 | Northrop at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
10.15 | Uptown Theatre, Kansas City
10.17 | Touhill Performing Arts Center, St. Louis
For more information, please visit www.davidgray.com.