On Winter Trees, the Fruit of Rain

David Gray’s “Life in Slow Motion” has spent a lot of driving time with me of late, and I especially find myself waiting for “Ain’t No Love.” Gray has a way of playing the piano slowly while rushing through the lyrics at double-speed, creating tension that still seems to flow without effort.

About a man trying to convince himself that he’s lost faith (okay, in my head that’s what it’s about, but when I listen to a song, it’s about what I say it’s about, right?) there’s plenty of sad imagery involving a little girl which tugs at me with thoughts of my own little one, but there’s also enough word painting to make it a lyric-writing lesson. I especially like the opening of the last verse:

 On winter trees the fruit of rain Is hanging trembling in the branches Like a thousand diamond buds

As always, it’s surrounded by an album full of excellent writing and performing, and includes lots of groovy extras on the DVD side of the dual-disc format.

Falling Free

Flesh – the title to David Gray’s second album is misleading, whether regarding the album or its title song. I’ll have to write about that some day.

Before reaching “David Gray's 'Flesh'Flesh” (track 10 on the album) you make a brief pass through “Falling Free”, a gorgeous piano and vocal tune. While many of David’s love songs are sad, this one is gloriously happy; passionate almost to the point of being spiritual. It’s hard to resist poetry like

 All of my senses overthrown by the might of your skin and the lamplight on your cheek


 See how the sky is made of sapphire the colours flowing through our hands the moon is fire in your hair a million miles beyond what science understands

Accompanied by marvelous music like “The Light”, “New Horizons”, and “Flesh”, this 1994 release is a must-have for the Celtic/folk music lover. Or for that matter, for lovers of all kinds.

Putting Flesh on the Bones of My Dreams

Once again, David Gray is inside my head. Not just because I can’t stop humming a tune, but because his lyrics always seem to express something I’m feeling. Right now, I’m feeling more confident than ever about fulfilling my dreams.

David Gray album 'Flesh'Flesh” deceives with its simple acoustic first bars. Of course, David’s voice is the second instrument heard, and as always, the most important. Soon, though, an uncharacteristic electric guitar riff echoes behind his vocals, and a solid, but muffled, drum emphasizes the rhythym. Now a soaring organ, joined by a second electric guitar, gentle, trying not to overshadow the lyrics. Before long, more acoustic guitars sprout up, competing with the growing insistence of the electrics. Finally, though, it’s an electric guitar, echoing, sliding, hollow and ringing, that wins out. Backed by a tight hard drum snap, the guitar and David’s vocals fade into another dream.

There have been times in my life when I felt I couldn’t afford the luxury of dreams. When you finally come back to reality, and realize you can’t afford not to dream, it feels like the words to “Flesh.” Read for yourself, and think about things you know you could be doing.

See the Sun Spreading Wings of Gold . . .

Gratifying to see Howard Shore’s magnificent “Lord of the Rings” score properly honored.

“Got no reason,

but that I must.

Maybe I feel

like I’ve been gathering dust . . .”

I wish I had discovered David Gray before “Babylon” but I’m glad I discovered him at all. “Gathering Dust” from his glorious 1993 debut album “Century Ends” has been running through my mind almost enlessly of late. (It shares said album with the emotional “Shine” and the philosophical “Birds Without Wings” which I believe was also David’s first single.)

Beginning with solo rhythym acoustic guitar, as many of Gray’s songs do, it gradually builds, adding keyboards, acoustic lead guitar, bass, and more. The electric piano subtly seconds David’s guitar from nearly the beginning. The second acoustic guitar counterpoints the rhythym beautifully, adding punctuation or emphasis where needed. Keyboards and rhythym guitar respond in kind, building to a full, rounded sound. By the time we get to the deliriously poetic

“See the sun spreading wings of gold

as the dawn unfurled,

Hear the song the moon sings

to the darkened world”

it has built to sizeable proportions, at which point, everyone drops out except the opening guitar and keyboards, fading to a soft, sad finish.

For more David Gray, try the official website, or their list of other links. I’ve spent quite a bit of time at ‘Drunken Gibberish‘ even though they spell their own name wrong. And of course, buy all David’s albums.