Minnesota born singer-songwriter, Jason Gray leaves you speechless, like someone articulated exactly what you wished you could say. Ironically enough, Gray has a speech handicap, he stutters, but is living proof that God uses what we call our weaknesses to show His strength. Gray’s been said to introduce each of his concerts by telling the audience he has a stutter, as most people tend to feel uncomfortable when this occurs, but his admittal of this fact has only allowed the audiences to relax and open up about things going on in their own lives that they count as their weaknesses even more. It’s that strength in weakness thing that Gray is so good at and the music and words on All the Lovely Losers is one of the best albums in 2007 for it.
Gray has released 4 independent CDs prior to signing with Centricity Records in 2006, so All the Lovely Losers marks Gray’s first major label debut and it’s definitely kicked things off nicely with the theme of accepting that our weaknesses can be used to show God’s strength. The title track is gripping because you think it’ll be morbid, but then you realize, at some point we’ve all felt pretty low, and then Gray kicks it up by saying, “blessed be the ones who know that they are weak/they shall see the Kingdom come to the broken ones…hungry for the taste of mercy/aching just to have your fill/one day you will”. The crispness of Gray’s smooth vocals, delicate piano, and guitar really harmonize with the thoughts he has on this album. “Weak” grabs you with great lines like “I was afraid to be weak/afraid to be me/because I didn’t want them to see/what was broken in me/but I guess I was wrong/…when I’m weak you are strong in me” and “You shine through the cracks where I was shattered”.
“Grace” explains God’s unmerited favor as a woman who possesses that quality towards others, “I’ll never be good enough for grace/but she takes me anyway…I am the cheating kind/but she’s changing my mind/the way she takes me back/though I fail her every time”. “Everything I Own” is a narrative ballad that takes you on a journey, telling what we can already possess in God but often forget as we speak of our desires, “What would I give to be pure at heart/for the known to be made unknown/what would I give to be/born again”.
“The Cut” is a charming folk song where the tone resembles a potter at a wheel smoothing out a new pot. Sara Groves does backing vocals on this track and I’m sure it’s killer live. There’s lovely imagery with peeling back “the bark” of ones heart that has kept us from living freely with God, with lines like “your love lays me bare” it shows us that God already sees us in our most vulnerable state, nothing is hidden from Him and that He is uncovering who we were meant to be.
A favourite on the album is “I’m Not Going Down”, it’s a highly inspiring song and the line “it’s not by might/it’s not by power/but by my Spirit says the Lord” draws you in with it’s whisper. “I’m not going down/I’m rising up” is also great imagery from the song, which is what makes Gray’s music so inviting, it’s crafted, it’s visual, and it’s listenable over and over again. It’s not shallow or too tough, but it flows. That’s Gray’s strongpoint on the album, maintaining the craft rather than over-production.
For more information please visit www.jasongraymusic.com.
Writer: Lindsay Whitfield