David Gray finds new musical ‘Freedom’

Anna Obergfell

With his enormous success in 1999 with “White Ladder,” David Gray released his follow-up CD, “A New Day at Midnight.” His most recent release offers his listeners similar tunes and his unforgettable voice. Gray’s soothing and easily recognized tone creates music that has a basic underlying beat combined with unique sounds.

An English musician, Gray infuses his personal songwriting with words and phrases that are unique to him. He also plays his acoustic guitar throughout his songs. The lyrics, typically focusing on some form of love interest, are appealing to all ages. Older teens, the early twenties generation, the young-but-sophisticated thirty-somethings and even the middle age patrons enjoy Gray’s soft and uplifting music.

As for his personal life, Gray spent some time wandering the streets searching for a few dollars and a place to stay in the early ’90s, but the tide quickly changed after his debut of “White Ladder.” He has encountered more adversity with the recent death of his father to cancer, and his lyrics and tone inform his listeners of his unfortunate experiences. In the song “Dead in the Water,” he sings, “The cancer and its seed/ Crackles on the mic/ Can call it what you like/ We’re dead in the water now.”

Another song, “Caroline,” describes a long lost love for which he still dreams. Lamenting over a woman he still passionately loves but cannot have, he shares his sorrow saying, “Ah but Caroline/ It seems like every time/ Honey all I get is further away.” With a hint of techno throughout the song, especially in the intro, these seemingly depressing lyrics have been uplifted by the quick beat, and he even throws in an encouraging “Wooooo.”

Prior to chiming in with his usually repetitive tunes, Gray begins the song “Freedom” with a new twist. This introduction gives a flavor of what comes off as a classical trumpet and a combination of string instruments. Other techniques that Gray uses include repetition. In the song “Kangaroo,” he repeats “So far behind,” while in the song “December,” he tends to repeat the month over and over. Some songs refer to his estranged love life, with both emotions of happiness and dismal gloom, but either way his feelings are apparent through his words.

My favorite on the album is “Knowhere.” I absolutely adored “White Ladder,” which reminds me of most of the songs from that CD. The upbeat sound keeps my toe tapping, and although it’s a good song for driving around with the windows down, it is also perfect background music for homework.