From the biggest selling album in Ireland to Groove Festival, we look at the folk rock star’s career…
Things we associate with the early noughties: Bertie Ahern, ever-increasing children’s allowance benefit, millennium candles, and David Gray’s White Ladder blasting melodically out of the car CD player.
That multi-platinum album was first released in 1998 under Gray’s own label after he recorded it in his London apartment. For the five years previous Gray had been an under-the-radar folk artist biding his time on the circuit until his dabbling with alternative rock and a dash of electronica produced a record that sound tracked the beginning of this century. It was the re-release of White Ladder in 2000 by the singer David Matthews on his label ATO that would make a young man’s career. Singles such as This Year’s Love (speaking of which do you remember the 1999 British movie the song accompanied? Dougray Scott? Unlikeable London residents navigating life and love in Camden? Does anyone watch Film 4 anymore?), Babylon, Please Forgive Me, and Sail Away climbed the charts and most people can still immediately chime in. The adjective you’re looking for is ‘ubiquitous’.
White Ladder spent six weeks at number one in the Irish album sales chart and remains the biggest-selling album in Ireland, selling 100,000 albums here. Gray’s relationship with our island has been long ingrained – his wife is half-Irish too. In an interview with the Guardian late last year for the Other Voices festival in Dingle he recalled a gig in Whelan’s way back at the beginning of all the madness. “I thought I was in the wrong place,” he said as he recalled the loud cheers he got going on stage. While White Ladder has dominated any and all coverage about Gray since he’s been a busy man with the constant touring and experimentation. This summer sees us welcoming him back with more applause as he completes the festival circuit for Mutineers, his soon-to-be released tenth studio album. I don’t know about you, but we’re going to catch some Gray at the Groove Festival in Kilruddery House next month. Team IMAGEdaily and BASH will be even pitching up a tent for some r’ n’ r between the acts.
David Gray is performing the Sunday at the Groove Festival in Bray next month. For more details see here. His new album Mutineers is launched at the end of June. http://groovefestival.ie/
Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun