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David Gray taking his time with new material

for Journal Register Newspapers

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Since he's between albums, David Gray says there's "no sort of ulterior motive" to his short North American tour that kicks off at the Meadow Brook Music Theatre.

"We got offered a couple of gigs and it seemed like fun to go over and take a week or two out of the whole thing and just have a bit of fun, really," the British singer-songwriter says. "We're going to do a few songs I haven't played for a while and obviously a lot of tried-and-tested songs. We might do a little acoustic bit in the middle.

"It's just going out and playing some shows and getting out of the rain (in England) for a couple of weeks. That seemed like a good thing to do."

Gray will have one "new" song to play, however. He recently recorded a version of Barrett Strong's Motown hit "Money (That's What I Want)" as part of the Jim Beam Live Music Series, selecting it from Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and fusing it with Toots & the Maytals' "Pressure Drop." Gray has been surprised by its popularity and promises it will be part of the summer shows, too.

"Both of those songs caught my eye because they're not quite so obvious," explains Gray, 44, who's also working on original material for his next album. "I tried a few things but made it as basic as possible and started from there and then tied in ('Pressure Drop') and it seemed to work, like a happy sort of accident.

"I had to record it by a certain date, but I didn't now that; I got a call from my manager, who said it had to be done before tomorrow. So it was thrown together in a very hasty way, but sometimes that's a blessing. It has a spontaneous, fun quality to it that we might not have gotten if we had taken more time with it."

David Gray performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 28, at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester Hills. Tickets are $35-$65 pavilion and $25 lawn. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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