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On a High... Rolling Hill!

Sara Vian interviews Ali George about his latest single releases, up-coming album and vision of success.

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Ali George is an extraordinarily talented singer-songwriter and guitarist from Bath, UK. He has supported folk acts such as: Martin Simpson, Roy Harper, Steve Tilson, Nick Harper, and Rory McLeod. Ali has made six albums of original material, and several EP’s. Most of which have been added to the British National Library’s permanent collection. Ali began playing guitar at the age of six. He was in his first band by the age of ten. By sixteen he had traded his electric guitar for a Yamaha acoustic and was performing solo gigs in pubs and venues around Bath and the South-West, recording demo albums, and developing his skills as a songwriter. In 2003 Ali was interviewed for the first time by Decode magazine; his first E.P. Songs was described as “ingenious”. Over the next few years Ali gigged extensively. His first official album, Danish Eyes was self-released in 2006. It was inspired by Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, and Bob Dylan’s The Times They are a’ Changin’. It consisted purely of vocals and guitar, with no overdubs, giving it a stark, yet intimate feel. In 2011, after a few years of issues with his vocal cords, and having to limit his singing, Ali released the eclectic and atmospheric album, You Always Burn Your Feathers, in which he established a more mature sound. He also experimented with ambient, darkly epic songs with unusual open tunings. After this album launch Ali started looking for a vocalist who could harmonise on his songs. His friend, the singer and performer Ruby Brown, was the perfect choice. They began rehearsing and working on new material. Ruby’s powerful and hauntingly beautiful voice complemented Ali’s music perfectly. They began gigging together regularly. That summer they performed in the 2011 Bath Folk Festival. 2013 saw the release of Ali’s third album, The Snow Ballad, which included backing vocals from Ruby. That summer Ali performed many of the songs from the album with a three-piece band at Glastonbury Festival, on the Band Stand. In 2016 Ali released Fallen Jewel, which featured the renowned and unforgettable Beth Porter on cello. Some of the songs featured Ali on electric guitar for the first time. Fallen Jewel was launched with a five-piece band at The Chapel Arts Centre in Bath. By this time Ali had accrued a large amount of unrecorded material. He decided to collect some of these lost songs together in a concept album about lost innocence and reflection. The recording and production took almost two years to complete. The Old Innocence was finally released on CD in March of 2018. The songs in the collection were written over a period of 15 years (The oldest being the opening track Innocence - a song Ali wrote when he was eighteen).  In September 2018, up and coming record label Myriad Pink released a four-track mini-album of Ali's songs called The Old Innocence E.P. It includes selections from the album The Old Innocence. The song Times of Hunger was also released as a single. In 2019 Ali signed a publishing contract with record label Streets Music LTD. They are currently hard at work sending his music out for sync opportunities in films, T.V. and advertising! Ali began recording his new album Platys Yialos (which translates roughly as "wide beach" in Greek.) in October 2019. Wait for the Mist to Clear – the first single from the album – was played by Sarah Gosling on BBC Introducing in the South West. Ali on making the album: 'The foundation of thIs album was the core two-piece set up of myself and double-bassist Tom Allen (The Zen Hussies, Bartoune). We had been rehearsing and gigging together for around four years, but we never got around to doing a recording session until November of 2019. I have always loved the combo of acoustic guitar and double bass since I first heard recordings of John Martyn and Danny Thompson. There are two sides to the album in terms of style: a quieter, acoustic side, in which we drew inspiration from folk, blues and jazz; and a rockier, more aggressive side. With the quieter songs like Another Girl we drafted in Bath based pianist Jools Scott, who added his own subtle touches. For the rockier songs like Melanie Brown, drummer Josh West joined us, painting in his own crafted intricacies. It was the first time I have recorded with a drummer as a solo artist, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Ruby Brown - who has featured on three of my previous albums – joined us on three songs to do some stunning backing vocals. For the title track I asked Beth Porter to accompany me on cello. The beautiful cover painting was made by my father Andrew Scott George. It was produced by Josh Clark who I worked with previously on Fallen Jewel. When it came time to mix the album it was just around the time that the lockdown started in the UK, so Josh and I had to do video calls to get it sorted, which was quite a challenge!” Ali is currently hard at work promoting the new album. He is looking forward to being able to perform live again!

"If She Knew" Filmed in Vintage and Rare Guitars, Bath, 2014.

"Underneath the New Spring Sky" and "Back to the Way" Filmed by Gumbo Media, Bristol, 2016.

"Times of Hunger" single. Released by Myriad Pink Label in 2018.

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