–By Marie Taylor
–Photos by Ryan Ledesma
Bluegrass and contemporary folk rock converged at the confluence as legendary singers Alison Krauss and David Gray performed at the Peabody Opera House on Friday, October 6th.
This pairing was a bit unusual, as David Gray’s folk-inspired easy rock was a more modern counterpart to the country-spiritual aesthetic of classic Alison Krauss. For those that don’t know what that means just picture Dave Matthews and Reba McIntire doing karaoke at a bar. It would be amazing to see these two forces converge, but it would also leave some people wondering who spiked their drink.
A fairly odd couple indeed, and yet these two megastars held their own and each blew the crowd away with their sets. David Gray was enthusiastic and fully present, giving his fans what they wanted and giving Krauss fans a taste of the acoustic-based rock that put him on the map.
In return, Alison Krauss reminded the crowd why she is country royalty by hitting all the right notes with her angelic voice and smoothly working with the talented musicians around her. Some David Gray fans chose not to stay during her performance, and it was their loss. Bluegrass may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but when given a chance to hear someone like Krauss it’s best to just sit back and enjoy the ride.
For those unfamiliar with his work, David Gray is a British artist who draws inspiration for his music from various elements of rock, folk, and electronic sources. His performance style is heartfelt and truly genuine, as he likes getting into the moment and drawing his fans in with him.
Gray uses every movement and every syllable to fully express the emotion behind each song. He’s extremely captivating to watch, but it’s the songs themselves that have you feeling so in the moment. Whether he’s on stage alone or backed by his band, Gray holds your attention in a natural way that makes the time fly by. For those David Gray fans who want to know which songs to be on the lookout for at his next shows, the performed many of his hit songs including “The One I Love”, “Sail Away”, “Shine”, “Only the Wine”, and “Babylon”.
Speaking of David Gray fans, I learned that if you want to spot a David Gray fan in a crowd, start singing one of his songs and see who joins in. Audience singing was encouraged towards the end of his set, but even before then I felt like I was in a cave listening to the echo of David Gray.
In contrast to the exuberant and animated David Gray, Alison Krauss was soft spoken and had a more controlled presence. She often turned the audience’s attention to the musicians around her, like Suzanne and Sidney Cox, who provided brilliant vocal backing for the singer. Controlled and poised as she might be, Krauss still has a voice to be reckoned with. Each note was perfectly captured and beautifully sung, giving fans what they wanted and other concert goers a chance to see a legend at work.
Krauss even brought out the classic favorites from the Coen Brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou? including the songs, “Didn’t Leave Nobody but the Baby” and “Down to the River to Pray”. The singer also performed songs from her newly-released album Windy City, which came out in February of this year.
The night was filled with incredible music from both David Gray and Alison Krauss, and despite their differences in style these two artists both gave their fans unforgettable experiences. You may never get to see Reba McIntire and Dave Matthews do karaoke, but you do have the chance to see David Gray and Alison Krauss rock their own respective genres. My advice? Go see them, and for the love of God, David Gray fans, just stay and enjoy the rest of the show!
Set List for Alison Krauss:
River in the Rain
I Never Cared for You
Forget About It
Baby, Now That I’ve Found You
Ghost in This House
Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us
It’s Goodbye and So Long to You
Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground
Didn’t Leave Nobody but the Baby
I am Weary, Let Me Rest (featuring Suzanne and Sidney Cox)
Down to the River to Pray
Gentle On My Mind
When God Dips His Pen of Love In My Heart
Walk Over God’s Heaven
When I’ve Done the Best I can, I Want My Crown
When You Say Nothing at All
A Living Prayer