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David Gray Captivates "Early Show" Crowd

By Melissa Castellanos

When it comes to storytelling, there's no shortage of creative juices at work for British singer-songwriter David Gray.

Best known for his hit songs "Babylon," "This Year's Love," and "Please Forgive Me" off his album "White Ladder," which took off shortly after its U.S. release in the summer of 2000, the lyrical poet is at it again.

With a new tour co-headlined by fellow folk singer Ray Lamontagne and a ninth album, "Foundling" -- his second album in less than a year -- Gray just can't put the pen down.

He found some time in between shows to turn up the energy on the "Early Show" plaza as part of the "Early Show" Summer Concert Series Line-Up. He performed "Please Forgive Me," "Stella the Artist," "Fugitive," Babylon" and "Kathleen."

"Three gigs down. We've had fantastic crowds and Ray's music and mine are a perfect combination," he told co-anchor Erica Hill.

With a soft, smoky yet gently raspy tone, with tinges of Bob Dylan in his voice, Gray exudes a genuine love of performing. Often bobbing his head as he jams out on the piano, Gray's enthusiasm is contagious.

How did Gray find the time and energy to produce another album in less than a year?

While recording his last album, "Draw the Line," Gray couldn't keep away from the studio between jam sessions. Instead of resting, he found himself further inspired, and the lyrics and chords for "Foundling" followed.

"Foundling" includes saucier tunes like, "Fugitive," "Stella the Artist," "Full Steam," but it also has more of a raw, stripped-down element to it.

"It seemed very sort of expansive, but you could imagine them getting a break at radio, but all of this sort of quiet stuff was growing," Gray told " ... After all the bluster and all the noise and all the effort, it's my favorite part to do something that's really quiet, where you can just hear the words and the song. There's nothing else propping it up and there's no production as such. That's really my strongest suit, just breaking it down with a solo thing almost with a few bits of embellishment. It is liberating when you can take that hat off."

Gray, who toured with Lamontagne five years ago in the United Kingdom, was captivated by Lamontagne's powerful voice and ability to bare his soul while trying to put aside his obvious discomfort with fame.

"He's come out a lot of his shell quite a lot since then. He was very withdrawn and obviously finds the process quite an ordeal, going onstage as being some kind of public thing," Gray explained. "He's a very private guy, but when he opens his mouth to sing, everything makes sense. He's got a wonderful voice and a really authentic style, so I am a big admirer."

Turns out audiences agree -- according to Gray, the duo has struck a chord with fans, and they have the ticket sales to prove it.

Gray and Lamontagne are also paying it forward -- they'll donate the proceeds from their Aug. 22 Nashville concert to Habitat for Humanity, to help the locals affected by the floods.

How did Gray become known as one of the greatest musical storytellers?

He was embraced by audiences in the U.K. for several years before his music crossed the pond; Gray released his first album in 1993, and finally became known around the world seven years later.

He's garnered numerous accolades throughout his over 15-year career, including 12 million album sales, the best selling album in Ireland ever with "White Ladder," two Brit nominations, and a Grammy nomination for "Best New Artist."

A self-prolclaimed family man, Gray is married with two daughters ages 8 and 4, who often go on tour with him.

What's next?

"I think I'll be going straight back into the studio," he told Hill. "I don't know what I'm going to do there, but I'll be going straight back in. Probably a bit of cleaning first!"

"Foundling," was released in stores on Aug. 17. The 2-disc set will feature the full length album and a 9-song bonus disc featuring never before released material including the first single "A Moment Changes Everything."

Gray and Lamontagne's co-headlining summer tour, which kicked off on Aug. 15, is set to encompass 22 dates before wrapping in Redmond, WA on Sept. 12.

Watch Gray share some insight on the making of "Foundling" in a exclusive interview: