The release of ‘White Ladder’ twenty years ago would catapult singer-songwriter David Gray from relative obscurity to an almost omnipresent status on TV and radio. Looking back, every home seemed to have a copy of the album at the time making it the fifth best selling album of the 2000s in the UK. To mark the anniversary of the album release David has raided the vaults and put together a bonus disc of b-sides and demos from the period and will be embarking on a run of dates, with his original band, to play the album in full. The album was actually originally self-released in late 1998 but the road to chart success would be long and winding as it took over two years to reach number one in the UK charts. An object lesson to all of us that perseverance can pay off in the end. Full details of the reissue and the tour follow:
Multi-platinum, multi-Brit and Grammy-nominated, British singer-songwriter David Gray is today announcing a 12-date UK and European arena tour; White Ladder: The 20th Anniversary Tour, to celebrate the trailblazing album’s 20-year anniversary. The 7 million record selling and one of the greatest and most heart-warming word-of-mouth successes in music, White Ladder will be performed by Gray with all the original band members and with all the original equipment to recreate the record in its entirety, plus a set of the greatest hits.
Commencing at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena on March 20th 2020, the tour will include London’s The 02 on March 26th and Dublin’s 3 Arena on April 2nd. Tickets for the tour will go on sale at 9am on Friday October 11th. Fans can have access to presale tickets on Wednesday October 9th by pre-ordering products from the remastered collection here: www.DavidGray.com
An expanded 20th anniversary edition of White Ladder will be released on 2xCD, 4xLP, and digital formats. This will include a special remastered edition of the iconic album plus White Ladder era previously unreleased rarities, B-sides and demos. Physical versions will be accompanied by an extensive booklet with writings by Gray about the whole White Ladder experience - from the people involved, to the stories behind the songs and memorable shows.
The newly-remastered original album will also be released on 2LP white-coloured vinyl, CD and digital, available here: https://davidgray.lnk.to/wl20th This is the first time White Ladder has ever been pressed on vinyl. www.DavidGray.com will feature music and White Ladder merchandise. Exclusive collaboration with Vinyl Me Please coming soon.
Listen to rare track “Over My Head” live now: https://DavidGray.lnk.to/overmyhead. This haunting track originally featured as a B-side on various single releases of Babylon and This Year’s Love, as well as being the bonus track on the Japanese White Ladder release.
White Ladder was born of difficult circumstances. Gray had been struggling on the margins for a decade, a lonely figure with an acoustic guitar swimming against the tide of Britpop, grunge, hip hop and electro. With three albums to his name, he found himself advertised at a gig third on the bill to beer and a barbecue. “Futility was so thick on the ground it was utterly soul destroying.” He came close to quitting. But instead, he asked himself some difficult questions: “Can you make a better record? Can you write a better song? The decision was to open up and give it everything I’ve got.”
Written and recorded on minimal budget by Gray in the bedroom of a tiny terraced house in Stoke Newington, David experimented with drum machines and electronic elements, creating a blend of folktronica that has since become a familiar part of the musical landscape, aided by drummer Craig McClune and engineer Iestyn Polson. Self-released at first on his own kitchen sink label, White Ladder slowly (very, very slowly) found an audience. It took a year to creep into the lower reaches of the British charts, then worked its way all the way up to number one. White Ladder eventually spent 3 years (from May 2000 to March 2003) in the UK top 100, spawning classic hit singles ‘Babylon’, ‘Please Forgive Me’ and ‘Sail Away’. It remains in the top 30 best-selling British albums of all time and the best-selling album ever in Ireland (a nation who know a good song when they hear it).
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, it’s interesting to consider the extraordinary aftermath of White Ladder. Its success spawned a new wave of singer-songwriters in an acoustic boom that resonates to this day, a soul-baring lineage that can be directly traced from David Gray to the all-conquering Ed Sheeran. Indeed, Ed is a fan, known to cover ‘This Year’s Love’ live. Fellow world beating British superstar Adele is also an admirer, citing ‘This Year’s Love’ as one of her all-time favourite break-up songs.
White Ladder remains an album of great depth and startling beauty, a superlative collection of emotional songs capturing a very special moment in time, as raw and immediate as when it was recorded. It’s one of 11 complex, ambitious and heartfelt albums Gray has recorded in a career than spans 25 years. Some, like White Ladder, have been big commercial successes (2002’s A New Day At Midnight and 2005’s Life In Slow Motion were UK chart toppers), others have been more intimate and experimental. All feature music that is both intimate and broad, intensely personal yet capable of speaking to the masses.
WHITE LADDER: 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION – AVAILABLE ON:
4LP (2x white vinyl, 2x black vinyl)
Expanded edition track listing:
CD1 / LP1&2 – White Ladder 2020 remaster:CD2 / LP3&4 – Unreleased rarities & B-sides:
1. Please Forgive Me 1. Lights Of London
2. Babylon 2. Over My Head
3. My Oh My 3. Monday Morning
4. We’re Not Right 4. Tired Of Me
5. Nightblindness 5. Roots Of Love
6. Silver Lining 6. Walking In Circles
7. White Ladder 7. Through To Myself
8. This Year’s Love 8. Over My Head (demo)
9. Sail Away 9. What On Earth (demo)
10. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye 10. Silver Lining (demo)
11. This Year’s Love (demo)
12. Please Forgive Me (demo)
WHITE LADDER: 2020 REMASTER – AVAILABLE ON:
2LP (Gatefold, white vinyl)
CD1 / LP1&2 – White Ladder 2020 remaster track listing:
1. Please Forgive Me
3. My Oh My
4. We’re Not Right
6. Silver Lining
7. White Ladder
8. This Year’s Love
9. Sail Away
10. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye