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English singer-songwriter David Gray recorded his fourth album, White Ladder, at home in 1998 and self-released it after three previous albums garnered critical acclaim and little else. Opening for the likes of Dave Matthews and Radiohead helped up his profile and led to Matthews choosing White Ladder as the U.S. debut for his new ATO label. It's not difficult to hear what attracted Matthews to Gray. There's a strong dose of romantic wanderlust to these tunes. "This Year's Love," with its somber piano notes, captures the drifter feel of earlier Gray work (such as the remarkable "A Gathering of Dust" from his debut)."Sail Away" is "Dock of the Bay" from another side of the shore. Gray clearly loves words, and the way he emphasizes them--spitting them out in contempt one minute, soulfully stretching a note out at other moments--lends his music drama. It's no wonder he's been compared to so heavy an improviser as Van Morrison. There's a spiritual connection there that this strong release makes only more obvious. --Rob O'Connor
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Now, Why would I buy the same CD 3 times? It's just that good. This is one of my favorite albums to listen to when it's time to unwind from the day. There are a few songs known by many on this CD, however as you listen to the CD each song is as good as the last, there are very few CDs that I can listen to in completion (and even run on repeat) without getting the urge to reach for the "skip track" button . This CD is one of those few.
I suppose you could say Gray is a true artist and I am simply pulled toward White Ladder for seriously soaring type reasons. If you know what I mean. This is why I buy music, so this is why I gave this CD five stars.
Give this album a chance and see how you feel about the entwining lyrics and music and what they do to you.
Now, his music is much more common. He was one of the first to break through with "New Age Folk".
i STILL love this album, after all these years.