After a four year break, British singer-songwriter David Gray is set to return September 22 with "Draw The Line," his first set of all new songs since 2005's "Life In Slow Motion." While the final track list is still being finalized, fans can expect at least eleven new songs and guest vocal turns by Annie Lennox and Brooklyn based singer-songwriter Jolie Holland. A twelfth song, tentatively entitled "Indeed I Will," is also under consideration. This will be Gray's first release on Mercer Street Records, the sister label of Downtown Records.
Aside from a new label, Gray says "Draw The Line" is marked by a handful of other necessary changes he found himself needing creatively - in particular, a new band. Joining him is Keith Prior on drums, Robbie Malone on bass and Neill MacColl on guitars. "I've known for some time I've needed a change; a need for a challenge," Gray tells Billboard.com. "My appetite for everything was undiminished. But I needed to find new people and make a fresh start. It's very easy to get jaded and I wanted some new blood and new ideas."
"Draw The Line" was written and recorded while Gray was without a record label, something that he also says worked to his advantage. "Just like with "White Ladder," which was a different set of circumstances, this one I made out of contract. Every little tiny detail, I feel strong about it all. I feel completely bulletproof with this. I think it shines the light on facets of me as a performer, a writer and a singer that I haven't perhaps illuminated as brightly enough for a long time."
"This has been a phenomenally creative period for me," he adds. "I've produced a huge amount of material and this is just one lot of it."
Gray is very fond of his guest vocalists, too. Regarding Annie Lennox, he says she "absolutely transformed the track," the album's closer "Full Steam Ahead." Holland performs on "Kathleen," one of the quieter tunes on the set. "It's got some charm to it, that one," he says. "It's just held its own amongst these bigger numbers. Holland's vocals just lifts the song out. She's a star; she's a rare thing."
Gray will return stateside this fall in support of "Draw the Line." The lead single will be the album's opener, "Fugitive."