It would be a shame and a mistake to dismiss England's David Gray as a one-hit wonder, although his career path has been one of false starts and periods of regrouping. He is known on these shores mostly for his haunting chart-topper "Babylon" and the album that birthed it, White Ladder. But Gray launched his career several years earlier, as the first outside signing to David Matthews's ATO label in 2000.
Before and since, he's released a number of mesmerizing LPs, all of which showcase his solitary yet seductive stance and a textured yet supple delivery. His latest, Draw the Line, finds him back on a major label and continuing to perfect that warm and captivating approach, winning renewed kudos in the process. Aside from his other studio efforts — eight in all — Gray will hopefully also draw from A Thousand Miles Behind, a collection of covers (Dylan and Springsteen among them) available only on his website, for his performance at the Fillmore Miami Beach.
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It's worth heading there early to check out opening act Phosphorescent, the hazy nom de plume for the group's sole constant, Athens, Georgia's Matthew Houck. Described as "the most significant American in his field since Kurt Cobain" by the London Evening Standard, Houck boasts his own beguiling style. It's an ethereal brew of psychedelic Americana honed over the course of five albums and an EP. That includes the latest, To Willie, a genial if somewhat willowy tribute to Willie Nelson, as well as a forthcoming disc, the aptly titled Here's to Taking It Easy, his most hypnotic set yet.