Inara George Biography
Featuring a collection of captivating songs and George’s stunning voice, which KCRW DJ Anne Litt describes as “infinitely listenable,” the album has already received regular airplay at the world-famous college station.
Raised in Topanga Canyon, in the house that her mother still lives in, Inara was immersed in a wildly creative atmosphere from the start. Her father was the legendary Little Feat slide guitarist and songwriter Lowell George. And though he died when she was just five, she continued to be exposed to the world he’d been a part of. “My mother kept our house open to a lot of creative people,” George explains as she recalls a time when the Violent Femmes stayed at her house on their first tour to LA, “and we were always around a lot of live music and art,” including the work of her parents’ peers, Van Dyke Parks, Jackson Browne, visual artist and musician Terry Allen and many others.
But Inara herself never considered a career in music. Instead, she went to college in Boston to study classical theater acting, having grown up performing Shakespeare at Topanga’s outdoor Theatricum Botanicum. (“I know it’s nerdy, but I love Shakespeare,” says George who admits stealing from the bard lyrically on her upcoming album.) One summer home from college, George started the band Lode with some friends from her high school, “on a lark.” Much to her surprise they were very quickly signed to Geffen and toured for two years. When they broke up, she escaped to New York to figure out what she might do next…
Before long, Inara found herself back in California and in another band, Merrick, her collaboration with Bryony Atkinson. A favorite on KCRW, Merrick was at the center of the burgeoning Silverlake/Echo Park music scene alongside BRMC, Devendra Banhart ,Midnight Movies, and Eleni Mandel. The band broke up in 2002.
According to George, All Rise could not have happened if she hadn’t met up with producer/guitarist Michael Andrews, who composed the scores to Donnie Darko, Freaks and Geek and co-wrote many of Inara’s songs.
“Mike is inspired. He’s insanely talented like some crazy mad scientist. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone like him. And he gathered together all these incredible people to work on the record.”
All Rise features a cadre of stellar west coast musicians including keyboardist Greg Kurstin, (Beck, Bobby Hutcherson and Ben Harper), drummer Pete McNeal (Jem and Cake) and Greyboy Allstar bassist Chris Stillwell, who collectively frame George’s cherubic voice in dimension.
Andrews speaks of George’s music, “What Inara does with music is much like when someone comes into your kitchen, takes what odd items of food might be left in your fridge and makes a delicious and humble meal. Her music is both familiar and original, soothing and challenging, grounded yet elevating. Her lyrics express without explaining and her musical forms feel outside of the predictable, yet somehow it still flows naturally.”
To hear the record is to understand. Inara’s thoughtful lyrics and optimistic, vulnerable voice offer a wisdom and sense of irony that can’t be served by the naïve and ambitious youths who dominate today’s airwaves. Her phrasing is unique, yet strangely reminiscent of male singers, like Leonard Cohen or Nick Drake. And how the record sounds seems to defy context, gracefully blending the nostalgic and the contemporary, the organic and the synthesized into an immensely palatable, and wholly consistent, soundscape all it’s own.
All Rise, released January 25, 2005, on Everloving Records.