David Gray Goes Country

David Gray performs at Billboard.com

British folk rocker David Gray isn't the first person you think of when you think about good, old fashioned American country music, but for this week's Mashup Monday installment, the singer-songwriter keys into the spare, forbidding sounds of the 1959 country classic, "Long Black Veil," famously recorded by Johnny Cash.

"It's a good little story song," says Gray of "Long Black Veil," which was originally a top 10 Country Songs hit for Lefty Frizzell. Gray says it was Johnny Cash's version that he fell in love with. "For me, an Englishman, I know [Cash's] stuff but I didn't know it all that well. It's pure Americana, but there's a timeless thing to it and I got really drawn into that," he says, adding, "I even had the balls to play it in Nashville at the Ryman Auditorium and they didn't laugh me off stage, so I think it must be ok."

Photos: David Gray Performs His Mashup

Grammy-nominated Gray, whose breakthrough album "White Ladders" was released in the U.S. in 2000, is currently logging more time on the Billboard charts. His new album, "Foundling," just debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard 200.

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