James Gray Has A Sleepless Night Without You

The Ontario troubadour shares a tale of loneliness and internal conflict.

James Gray tosses and turns through a lonely Sleepless night on his latest single — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

The newest standout from his the Ontario folksinger and songwriter’s third album New Friends That Talk Like Old Friends, Sleepless rings true to form for Gray, offering a tale of loneliness and internal conflict that hits us with the chorus of sadness:

“Have I ever told you why? Told you why,
Have I ever told you how? Told you how,
Did I ever scream out loud? out loud,
Did I ever tell you why I can’t sleep at night?”

It could be personal, or it could be a tale from someone he met on his travels. Whatever the inspiration,, the lyrics will resonate with all of us sometime in our life. This is the true magic that Gray conjures with his music — the ability to connect with us and his audience.

The troubadour spends half his year living in his cabin in Muskoka, composing music and allowing himself to breathe in peaceful nature. The other half of his life takes him worldwide, including tours of Canada, Europe, and Australia, with more countries and continents on his roster. His mellow, fingerpicked guitar work and haunting vocals bring visions and sounds of The Band, Townes Van Zandt and Bonnie “Prince” Billy, with healthy doses of folk, Americana and alt-country at the heart of his style.

The road to New Friends That Talk Like Old Friends began in 2020 as the world stopped to consider its fate. Amid this quiet contemplation, Gray decided to connect the world again with this third album. The LP is a collection of fables about people, for people. His global experiences and the people he met along the way were the primary influences for this collection.

Keeping with his natural and honest approach, Gray recorded his first guitar tracks and vocals in his cabin. If you listen closely, the sounds of a wood-burning stove and various birds can be heard, setting the scene and grounding the songs in Gray’s world. Later, he enlisted a roster of talent to flesh out the songs. Along with producer Matt Montour, the list included Bruce Mackinnon (keyboards and woodwinds), Matt Burns (drums), Geoff Burns (bass), Alyson McNamara, Christy Flynn-Sollman and Sandy Mclaren (backing vocals), Dean Drouillard (electric guitar), Steve Wood (pedal steel), Marion Linton (violin) and Thomas McCallum (tin whistle). Gray and Matt hopped all over Ontario to record the various parts.

Listen to Sleepless above, check out more from James Gray below, and find him on his website and Facebook.