Music|November 17, 2023 10:23 EST
Jason Gray releases "Land of the Living"; 1st full-length album in 3 years plumbs depth of human experience
Critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Jason Gray releases his full-length album, Land of the Living, today (Nov. 17) at digital and streaming outlets globally via https://fanlink.to/landoftheliving. On the new album, this beloved Centricity Music recording artist is less of a host and more of a participant in the stories he’s telling. Rather than leading listeners on a journey revolving around a central theme like he did with 2020’s Order Disorder Reorder, this album serves up a batch of pop-friendly, radio-ready contenders primed for conversation.
“Concept albums tend to ask something of the listener,” Gray says in regard to Land of the Living’s predecessor. “This record is a little bit more, ‘Thank you for your attention. That was the meat. Let’s have a little dessert.’”
This cherry-on-top addition to his catalog is full of meaningful songs marked by Gray’s remarkable ability to plumb the depths of the human experience — all within the confines of a three-minute pop song.
For each of the dozen tracks on Land of the Living, there’s always one question Gray asks when he walks into a writing room: How do we tell the truth today? Yet, he proposes there’s another question that’s often a quicker route to the heart of the matter: What are we afraid to talk about today?
He discovered the answer to that question when he penned “Worth Staying For,” arguably the most personal song of his entire career. Written with Andy Gullahorn, the autobiographical selection uncovers Gray’s scars as he shares his core fear of abandonment, a wound inflicted in his childhood when his father left, and that was reopened years later during a painful divorce. “I was scared to release that one,” he confesses, “because as a writer, you don’t want to be the victim or the hero of your songs.” Gray ultimately holds himself accountable as he traces the trauma from its point of entry to the ways "pain will be transmitted if it doesn't get transformed.”
Other topics he covers on Land of the Living aren’t nearly as heavy, yet, just like Gray, they’re exceptionally thoughtful. He excavates Psalm 27 on the title-cut, explores childlike wonder on “When I Grow Up,” celebrates biblical manhood on “Good Man” and wrestles with doubt on “Questions.”
Lead single “Place For Me,” produced and engineered by GRAMMY Award-winning Jeff Sojka (Jeremy Camp, Crowder) and mixed by Sean Moffit (Chris Tomlin, NEEDTOBREATHE), was birthed out of Gray’s own weighty baggage from the church, a place he’s ultimately found to be a refuge for the sinner and saint alike. “At its best, the church offers a place of belonging based on our need for grace, for each other, for help and for guidance,” Gray says of the message behind the upbeat offering he co-wrote with Matt Armstrong and Ethan Hulse. “It’s where different people, who don’t necessarily agree with each other, come together and manage to point their hearts in the same direction for a couple hours every week, and that’s beautiful.”
Land of the Living also features the tongue-in-cheek quirkiness of “Jesus Loves You (And I’m Trying),” the pop-centric “Be Kind,” and the Gospel-inflected, choir-assisted “When I Say Yes.”
The full Land of the Living track listing follows:
01) When I Say Yes
02) When I Grow Up
04) Jesus Loves You And I’m Trying
05) Be Kind
06) If You Don’t Move
07) Land Of The Living
08) Hold Onto Hope
09) Worth Staying
10) Good Man
11) See As You See
12) Place For Me
While his music has always given listeners a safe space to work out the details of life, faith and relationship, the veteran artist reveals that he finds himself writing from a different perspective on Land of the Living. “I now see songwriting as trying to offer healing language to the world,” Gray says. “It makes it less egocentric. It’s not about me expressing myself. Instead, it’s about me trying to love my audience well by writing words that might help them express things they need better language for.”
About Jason Gray:
Since his 2007 nationwide label debut, All the Lovely Losers, Gray has established himself as a true songwriter’s songwriter. He has garnered multiple ASCAP Performance Awards for popular songs like “Remind Me You’re Here,” “I'm Gonna Let It Go” and “Sparrows" and summited the radio charts with hits like his first No. 1 AC standard, “With Every Act of Love,” and chart-topping inspirational single, “Nothing Is Wasted.” Throughout his celebrated tenure, Gray has shared the stage with genre leaders like Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, TobyMac, Lauren Daigle and others, in addition to headlining tours of his own. Moreover, he’s the host of the popular writers-round radio show Acoustic Storytime heard on SiriusXM The Message on the second Friday of every month at noon ET.
About Centricity Music:
The No. 1 Billboard Top Christian Albums Imprint for three consecutive years, Centricity Music is an independent Christian music company based in Franklin, TN. Founded in 2005 with a commitment to artist development and stylistic diversity, its artist roster includes Andrew Peterson, Apollo LTD, Brandon Heath, Chris Renzema, Jason Gray, Jordan Feliz, Katy Nichole, Lauren Daigle, Mack Brock, Natalie Layne, North Point Worship, Patrick Mayberry and Unspoken. Providing label and publishing services, Centricity is a family-owned organization. The committed work of its staff and artists has yielded successes such as Grammy Awards, Billboard Awards, Dove Awards, K-Love Fan Awards, and multiple Gold and Platinum Albums and Singles. For more Information on Centricity Music, visit https://centricitymusic.com/.