David Gray to Perform at the Golden State Theatre
May 2019. Monterey, CA. Don’t miss award-winning David Gray’s performance at the Golden State Theatre on Wednesday, June 26, 2019.
AT A GLANCE:
WHAT: David Gray
WHEN: Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: Golden State Theatre, 417 Alvarado, Downtown Monterey. (831) 649-1070.
TICKETS: Buy individual tickets (tickets range from $77-$110. Tickets are available at www.goldenstatetheatre.com, or by calling 831-649-1070 or on the day of the show. Group ticket discounts are available for 10 or more.
David Gray’s first album, A Century Ends, was released in 1993, followed by Flesh in 1994. After touring with the likes of Radiohead and the Dave Matthews Band in support of his third album Sell, Sell, Sell, David decided to self-finance his fourth album, White Ladder, and release it on his own label, IHT Records, in 1998.
As David’s success grew, he released a pair of compilations (Lost Songs 95-98 and The EP’s 92-94) and reissued A Century Ends and Flesh. A New Day at Midnight followed up his successful international breakthrough in the fall of 2002, and 2005’s Life in Slow Motion debuted at the top of the charts in both Ireland and the U.K. In 2007 he released Shine: The Best of the Early Years, followed by Greatest Hits. Most recently, David released Draw The Line in 2009, Foundling in 2010, and Mutineers in 2014. In 2016, The Best Of David Gray came out in a standard and deluxe format.
During the span of his career thus far he has had 12 million album sales, the best selling album in Ireland ever with White Ladder, a BAFTA nomination for his soundtrack work on Amma Assante’s 2004 film ‘A Way Of Life’, two Ivor Novellos, a Q award, two Brit nominations, and a Grammy nomination.
More about David Gray
David Gray doesn’t sound like himself on his new album Gold In A Brass Age. His eleventh record in a 26-year recording career, the challenge was to retain the same excitement for music whilst pushing himself in to unfamiliar terrain. A song-writing shake-up with an element of mystery pertinent throughout - perhaps in part explaining the album’s title, taken from a line in the Kafka-esque short story Blackbird Pie by Raymond Carver.
You’ll still recognize his gravelly rasp, but his singing is softer, sweeter, more intimate and occasionally falsetto. His lyrics have been transformed too, declamatory tales of love and loss replaced by couplets closer to poetry, and whilst his guitar and piano playing remain, the ushering in of electronica and the exploring of new textures and sound palettes alongside new production techniques, has turned his approach to song-writing on its head.
By David’s own admission, he wasn’t clear how the songs on Gold In A Brass Age would take shape. “With this album, my default position was to try and approach everything differently. I didn’t begin by thinking ‘this could be a good hook’ or ‘these lyrics might work for a chorus’, and I was keen to get away from a traditional storytelling style. Instead of fitting words to melodies, I looked for snippets and phrases with a natural cadence, and let the rhythm and melody stem from there. It was a case of reimagining where a song might spring from and what form it might take.”
Gold In A Brass Age comes produced by Ben de Vries, then 26, the son of producer and soundtrack composer Marius, with whom David had worked with on 2005’s double platinum selling Life In Slow Motion. Work on the album begun back in 2016 and was written and recorded in several month-long spells between tours to promote 2016’s The Best Of David Gray, that included a whopping 50 dates in the States, and a co-headline tour with Alison Krauss.
Despite the pair not having met before, the seeds of the album’s sound were sewn early on in David’s home studio. “We were talking about production ideas and artists that we were currently listening to when Ben played the track ‘Sixes And Nines’ by Birkwin Jersey,” David recalls, “with this electro-acoustic sound and very chopped up aesthetic, it was a great reference point, and precisely the sort of thing I was looking for.” Album tracks ‘Watching The Waves’ and ‘Hall Of Mirrors’ were the first to follow as de Vries and Gray developed the arrangements to songs that give the album its atmospheric and experimental undertones.
Using electronics is nothing new for David – they were all over the era-defining, ten times platinum White Ladder in the late ‘90s and have featured on each of his albums since. But it was working with Lamb’s Andy Barlow on 2014’s acclaimed Mutineers that opened his eyes to how they could transform his song-writing, not just his sound.
“Mutineers played a key role in opening up a world of new sonic possibilities and in granting me the sense of creative freedom that I have now,” says David. “Andy was very good at encouraging me to come at ideas from different angles and introduced a new, more open way of thinking that I was eager to explore more on this record. It’s easy to fall in to a rut and get encumbered by certain ways of working. Andy helped remind me that nothing is set in stone. I’ve never felt as undaunted by the creative process as I do now, knowing that a song can start anywhere, go anywhere.”
The result is a sensual, experimental, heavily atmospheric, largely electronic album in which tracks shapeshift, soaking in soulful grooves, modern r&b, blues and folk. The outro to ‘Furthering’ is awash with the use of vocoder and autotune, the layered falsetto of ‘Ridiculous Heart’ may summon the spectre of Prince, whilst ‘Hurricane Season’ makes use of soprano sax, melodicas and operatic samples to reach an unexpected crescendo.
Amidst the importance of production techniques and electronic pioneers, it’s Bill Callahan (formerly Smog) who is singled out above the rest. “You can move production on but to actually move the idea of what a song actually is – he’s managed to do it. His style is very tangential - it just fills me with delight the way he places images and ideas, revealing things in a different way.”
The new sound also required a new way of singing, often in a higher register than felt comfortable. “The trickiest thing to get past is the sound of your own voice and mine is particularly powerful,” says David. “I started singing more softly on Mutineers, but this time round there was even more powering down - fragile, gentle, intimate to the mic. I played the title track, unfinished, to a friend in the studio one day. He asked me who was singing. I said ‘It’s me, you idiot’. I hadn't realised that using my voice in a different register might render it unrecognizable.”
The abstract lyrics Gray had collected in the months before, pickpocketing words “like a jay picking things out of a window” may not tell tales as such, but in hindsight, they were revelatory. The themes that emerged are apparent from opening track ‘The Sapling’, also the album’s hypnotic lead single. “Time ticking by is a theme that recurs throughout the record,” says David. “Fragility, renewal, an ever-changing perspective. It’s not about a cup emptying, but one that’s still full to the brim, a life enriched by experience, the familiar seen in a completely different light.”
For ‘The Sapling’ video, Gray personally sought out Baltimore-based zoetrope artist Eric Dyer to create the kaleidoscopic animations. The video nods towards the track’s rumination of the cyclical brevity of life and ecology with projected time lapse footage of germinating acorns, scaled to hypnotic effect.
The striking album artwork features an Emperor Moth with the city of London captured in its wings courtesy of tattoo artist Londonboy Tattooer. “The idea of a moth on the cover was mine. They’re such strange and beguiling creatures and provide a snapshot of a world we otherwise wouldn’t see. As an indicative species they tell you a lot about what’s happening to both our climate and our planet. By monitoring their movements and studying them a world of slowly changing patterns is revealed.”
Londonboy Tattooer’s illustrations continue through the album artwork, acknowledging the city’s impact on the making of the album. “This feels like a London record, more than any I’ve made since White Ladder. The city has a staggering capacity to tear itself apart and rebuild at a rate that’s almost too much to take in. In its own small way this album is both a part of, and a tribute to, that relentless energy”.
Says Gray of Gold In A Brass Age, “I’ve been through a phenomenal amount of emotional upheaval in recent years. You can only process so much; you just have to push most of it away. In the heat of the creative moment the weight of buried feeling becomes bound to the spark of a new idea and is magically transformed and given form. This album’s style isn’t autobiographical, I’ve markedly avoided that path, yet when I pull back from the record - it’s a pure document of my life at this time.”
About the Golden State Theatre
In 1926, a 15,000 square-foot Moorish castle rose on Alvarado Street, to the amazement of locals and visitors alike. A new cinema and live performance venue to rival those in California's largest cities, the Golden State Theatre, which was built by the Reid Brothers, was the definition of an opulent movie palace. After decades of deterioration, it was faithfully restored to its former glory, featuring an Old-World grand lobby and mezzanine, one thousand plush velvet seats, state-of-the-art sound, and the indefinable magic of a truly historic setting. Dana Carvey, B.B. King, Dave Mason, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Yes, Patti Smith, The Beach Boys, Bob Weir and The Smothers Brothers — these are just some of the names that have graced the stage, contributing to the Theatre's new legacy since its renovation and exciting revival. The community is invited to attend a world-class concert or film festival at the Golden State Theatre, or host their own special event here, and become part of its new chapter of history.
The Golden State Theatre is operated by husband and wife entrepreneurs, Eric and Lori Lochtefeld, along with a team of industry professionals from across the country. Winners of the 2017 Small Business of the Year in San Mateo County, they are also Managers of the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, also built by the Reid Brothers in 1929, where they hold nearly 200 events per year. Through their work with the Fox Theatre and the community, they have helped to revitalize downtown Redwood City. For more information, go to www.goldenstatetheatre.com or call (831) 649-1070.
The Golden State Theatre is located at 417 Alvarado Street in Downtown Monterey and has many more outstanding events coming up including Jackie Greene Band (June 7), David Gray (June 26), Comedian Brian Regan (June 29), Mandolin Orange (July 5), A Solo Acoustic Evening with Richard Marx (July 13), Comedian Adam Carolla (August 17), Justin Hayward(August 28) Get the Led Out (Music of Led Zeppelin) (October 11), Lewis Black (October 26), An Irish Christmas (November 29), Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin (December 7) and more to be announced!