British singer/songwriter David Gray first came to prominence in the UK and Ireland with the release of his debut album, A CENTURY ENDS, in 1993. A critical success, the album climbed to #23 on the Irish charts and earned him plenty of press and good reviews. His next two albums – FLESH (1994) and SELL, SELL, SELL (1996) – did similar business and helped to expand his audience even more. When Gray released his fourth album, WHITE LADDER, in November 1998, the album struggled in the charts although it was warmly received by critics and fans. Issued on Gray’s own IHT Records label, the album’s initial release seemed to slow down the momentum that he had been building with his previous three releases. When he began releasing singles from the album in 1999, there was commercial interest, but it was coming slowly. However, things were about to change the following year thanks to the support of American singer/songwriter Dave Matthews. Yes, the Dave Matthews Band guy…

Albums usually run their chart course within a year, but there are exceptions. In May 2000, WHITE LADDER was re-released by Matthews’ new ATO Records label and given a new lease on life. With better distribution, Matthews’ support, and a heavy touring schedule, Gray’s album was a bonafide hit. Bolstered by the hit single “Babylon”, WHITE LADDER climbed to #1 in the UK and Ireland and entered the Top 40 in the US, Norway, and Australia. Over the next two decades, David Gray continued to release a string of albums that were warmly embraced by his growing fanbase and received plenty of press in the process. Alongside a handful of compilations and a live album, Gray has managed to build up a beloved catalog of releases that are still fresh and invigorating. His 2019 release, GOLD IN A BRASS AGE, went Top 40 in Ireland, Scotland, and the UK, which is quite the feat since many of his 1990s and early 2000s contemporaries have disappeared from the upper regions of the charts…

Recorded before the COVID pandemic, David Gray’s 2021 album, SKELLIG, is a beautifully atmospheric album filled with a warm, loving light yet offering just enough shade to make the album sound human… and deeply emotional. Produced by Ben de Vries, the album keenly mixes acoustic guitar-based songs with others that rely predominantly on the piano. Mix in some mood-inducing electronics and some lovely ethereal harmonies and you’ve got an album that is laced with melancholia yet still feels comforting and, maybe more importantly, hopeful. Gray’s voice on SKELLIG is far more tender and reflective than on past releases, but he’s still very much the same man that led the charge on his 11 previous albums.  “Heart and Soul”, the album’s first single, is one of his best tracks, bringing together harmony, melody, and emotion unlike anything you’ve heard this year so far. Thankfully, there’s more songs just as powerful as that on the album. Other highlights include “Can’t Hurt More Than This”, “Laughing Gas”, “Spiral Arms” and the title track. SKELLIG proves that David Gray is still at the peak of his powers.