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David Gray: Britain's Shining Folk Export

In the U.S., the British folk scene has never been as well-known as England's rock and pop exports, but David Gray is changing that. For more than a decade, this wordsmith out of Manchester has been laying down album after album of shining folk mixes. With his distinctive acoustic style and exuberant brand of pop, Gray comes up with a sound that hits between rock-a-bye mellow and bright, biting alt-rock.

Gray got his start in the early 1990s, with a solid fan base out of Ireland. His breakthrough into major folk-rock circles came in 1996 when he released the hybrid album Sell, Sell, Sell. These songs exhibit his trademark sound, a blend of pop, alt-rock and folk. His fourth album, the Van Morrison-esque White Ladder, was his ticket into the mainstream pop world. Hits such as the retrospective "Babylon" and "This Year's Love" pulled the folk star to the top of the British charts, reaching platinum five times over. Gray toured extensively around the world, opening for bands like Radiohead and Dave Matthew's Band, and releasing more accessible, emotive music.

Since his 2000 breakthrough, Gray has continued releasing chart toppers. His eighth official studio release, Draw the Line, drops on September 22.

This segment originally ran Sept. 18, 2009.

Copyright 2009 XPN