David Gray is hoping his audiences are very quiet on his current “Lost And Found” tour.
At least while he and his band are playing the songs.
Inspired by the stripped-down and hushed nature of his latest album, 2010’s “Foundling,” the British singer-songwriter is in the midst of a series of intimate acoustic shows, using a special stage arrangement and microphone techniques to reflect the music. It’s an idea Gray’s had for a while and “Foundling” provided the vehicle for finally doing it, but he’s aware that the challenges go deeper than just playing the music.
“There’s all kinds of unknowns as we attempt something that we haven’t really done before,” notes Gray, 42. “The audience, they’re the big unknown. Who knows what they’re going to make of it. The Americans in particularly aren’t known for their sort of quietness; they usually participate with some gusto — and long may that continue.
“But that’s not what we’re looking for this time out.”
Gray and company are mixing older material with the “Foundling” songs — including his 1999 hit “Babylon” — though often in arrangements that are “completely unrecognizable from the recorded songs.” Mostly, however, he says “proximity is the key word” for achieving the impact he hopes to make with this particular approach.
“It’s about getting everybody really close together,” Gray explains, “like an acoustic session in a pub where you can dovetail musically into ... whatever tangent you choose. I’ll be sitting a couple feet from the drummer and the bass player, and there’s a drop of the shoulder and everybody feels it and everybody just goes with you and you’re off somewhere else.
“I enjoy the challenge of it. The philosophy is to try to emulate the recording process but also use a completely different palette than you would in a regular show, which is pretty exciting.”
David Gray performs with Lisa O’Neill at 93.9 The River’s Winter Icebreaker at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway. Tickets are sold out. Call 313-237-7464 or visit www.livenation.com.