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David Gray's enjoying back end of latest album cycle

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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David Gray is viewing his summer tour with Amos Lee as "a celebratory chapter with which to close the 'Mutineers' book."

The British troubadour is talking about "Mutineers," his 10th studio album which came out a year ago to a No. 15 debut on the Billboard 200 and Top 10 bow in the U.K. Gray is still happy with what he created, but he's particularly looking forward to what he'll be doing with the music on the road this time out.

"It's a very different lineup than the (original) 'Mutineers' tour," Gray, 47, says by phone from Maine during rehearsals for the tour. He's pared his band down from eight musicians to five, which he says will make the performances "looser, slightly rawer. I think that's how it should feel for a summer tour with the sun shining and people coming out on a summer's evening. It's going to be a really energized, joyous thing."

Gray acknowledges that he "would've like to have sold more" copies of "Mutineers," but he's been happy with the way it's been received. "The fans have been very positive -- and critics alike," he notes. "We've played a lot of wonderful shows, too. It's funny; when you put something you're looking at 12, 18 months in front of you and it feels like you're staring up a mountain, but when you get to this last bit it's like you're freewheeling down the hill. There's definitely a real 'woo-hoo!' coming out of the Gray mouth now."

So what's next? Gray reveals that he's "at another crossroads" creatively and will be "taking a different approach" in the studio -- though he's loathe to talk about specifics.

"I would sound like some floundering, pretentious idiot if I explained it in any detail," he says with a laugh. "There were forks in the road that were taking in the making of 'Mutineers,' a lot of them the paths less taken, an that's the way my imagination is tending as I move forward. I'm interested in more esoteric areas.

"So I'm making copious amounts of notes and I'm going to try to leave it wide open and pursue ideas in a non-narrative way rather than sitting down to write songs. I want to leave the space wide open so there's nothing there and everything has to happen in the moment in the studio. It's scary, but it's very exciting at the same time so we'll see how it turns out."

David Gray, Amos Lee and Rachael Yamagata

7 p.m. Monday, June 22.

Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University, Rochester Hills.

Tickets are $49.50 and $39.50 pavilion, $25 lawn.

Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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