David Gray has announced his first UK dates in two years with a set of acoustic solo shows in support of his forthcoming Greatest Hits collection. Entitled ‘An Evening With David Gray’, the dates will commence at Manchester’s Albert Hall on December 11 and include a two night run at London’s Cadogan Hall on December 13 & 14. The Best Of – issued a quarter of a century after Gray’s recording career originally began – will precede the live-dates on October 28 through Kobalt Label Services/IHT Records.
The release takes in highlights from top 5 album Draw The Line, 2011’s Founding and 2014’s critically acclaimed Mutineers, alongside longstanding classics from Gray’s three number 1 albums, including the 6 million-selling, Grammy-nominated White Ladder. Gray is trailing the announcement with a new track ‘Smoke Without Fire’, which – along with ‘Enter Lightly’ – is one of 2 previously unheard tracks to be included on The Best Of.
In an age where streaming services allow us to access an artist’s digital archive and curate our own selections, a fair question might be ‘In 2016, what does a Greatest Hits collection actually mean?’ It’s a question that Gray and his label posed to themselves when considering how best to compile a present-day representation of his massive catalogue of hits, which are being streamed over a million times a week. The result – ‘Best of David Gray Weekly’ (viewable here or through David’s website) – is an innovative Spotify playlist (available alongside traditional CD, deluxe CD and double gatefold vinyl formats), which replaces the static snapshot of a traditional collection with an adaptive track-listing which changes weekly to reflect the most streamed tracks in Gray’s catalogue. As this playlist fluxes – and with new tracks such as ‘Smoke Without Fire’ just as likely to rub shoulders here with classics like ‘Shine’ (re-recorded as a 25th anniversary version especially for this release) – the proposition becomes not The Greatest Hits, but Your Greatest Hits.
In addition, the vinyl format and deluxe CD version of The Best Of will feature a collection of songs of Gray’s own choosing, including three new re-recordings. Speaking about the process Gray says; “It felt like the right thing to do to accompany the main collection with a group of tracks that has been selected by me for no other reason than that they occupy a special place in my heart and have meant a lot to me down the years. These recordings stand like markers in the road, and I still refer back to them every now and then, whenever I’m in need of taking my creative bearings.”
Whilst he will admit to the curious experience of taking stock of his successes- “It’s certainly a strange business stopping the clock and listening to your younger self singing back to you from across the years”, in The Best Of, Gray has delivered on a rare remit- a living, breathing collection every bit as dynamic and vital as the 25 year long career it spans.
An Evening With David Gray
11 December MANCHESTER Albert Hall
13 December LONDON Cadogan Hall
14 December LONDON Cadogan Hall
17 December GATESHEAD Sage
18 December BRISTOL Colston Hall