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Ian George Back in His Kingdom for Album Release

Ian George at Ice House





FEBRUARY 21, 2019

All content by:  Patrick Dunn

Too often, I find myself complaining about how un-relatable the current array of popular music is for those outside the targeted listener base compared to past more prolific periods. Perhaps a positive trend coming out of this disconnect is an increased willingness to explore the growing amount of Independent music that is becoming easier to find via online platforms. I am continually impressed with the quantity and quality of Indie music having roots here in the Twin Cities. Our local scene is thriving and wonderfully diverse with artists I would describe as passionate, purposeful and relatable. One such performer is Ian George, who revealed his debut album as a solo artist, Kingdom of My Youth live at Ice House, February 21st.

One element that makes George’s album particularly interesting is the story behind how it all came together. During a period of personal discovery while traveling overseas, he was presented with an opportunity to record music at a studio in Paris for next to nothing. It did however require him to quickly assemble a group of players from this unknown land to help bring to life what at that time was a collection of unfinished songs. A proposition likely overwhelming, but too good to pass up became George’s formula for success on this project. Although finished a year ago, officially launching this material now after being back home in Minnesota is fitting considering one could quickly conclude from many lyrical references that this is his kingdom. 

Before a single note was played, George made sure to recognize his new band The Well consisting of Ted Olsen (Bass), Pete Quirsfeld (Drums), Pat Horigan (Electric Guitar/Moog), Tyler Anderson (Horns/Keys). Their presence brought a jazzier feel to these songs, especially influenced by Olsen’s technique on Bass and Anderson’s expertly placed saxophone phrasing that made me think of Sting’s Nothing Like the Sun. Another key component of their live sound was George's vocal, which stylistically danced around key melodies for a quality you might get from mixing Chris Martin and Dave Matthews.

An ode to the albums cover design, Kandinsky was a good choice to open with and feels like it could fit in somewhere on Paul Simon’s Graceland. George's experience as a Folk artist shone through on Better With a Buddy and also Son, which had a nice build to the finish that commanded your attention. He was very good at keeping the audience engaged and seemed to enjoy elaborating on stories between songs. One amusing example was about being caught dancing around the house wearing only a pink tutu, the inspiration behind The Wild & The Untamed. At one point, the band left George alone on stage to perform a song he said takes him back to his roots. Shenandoah is a kind of tragic old time love story about a man that falls in love with a native-American and comes to a realization that it’s just not going to work and he has to move on. His delivery was genuine and heartfelt and was the show’s standout moment for me.

Having presented all the material off Kingdom of My Youth, this newly formed band closed on a fresh untitled jam they put together during their handful of rehearsals leading up to this show. George commented on being surprised at how much energy goes into recording an album. “I feel an obligation to do it justice and get it listened to. So if you like what you are hearing and tell just one person, that would be amazing to me.” Another live performance is scheduled for April 5th at Aster Café.

Ian George Gallery
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