Inara George

All Rise

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Being the daughter of Little Feat founder Lowell George may not seem to be as intimidating as being the son of John Lennon or Bob Dylan, but that's only because he's a cult figure. Lowell may not have been a superstar, but he was an immensely talented guitarist, songwriter, and singer whose work is beloved partially because of its idiosyncrasies; his songs and his playing never quite took a direct route, always surprising in their twists and turns. His daughter Inara George may not work the same country and blues-rock territory as her father, but she shares his talent for taking her music in unexpected directions as her fine 2005 debut, All Rise, illustrates. Working with guitarist/producer/songwriter Michael Andrews, George has created an album that's not far removed from either the electro-folk of Beth Orton or the modernist singer/songwriter pop of Aimee Mann, Michael Penn, and Jon Brion. While these are the musical touchstones for All Rise, George has her own musical identity. Since it starts slowly, contemplatively with "Mistress," the record seems to be firmly in the contemporary folk tradition, but as the record progresses, the music blossoms, brightening for the sprightly pop of "Genius" and "Good to Me" and slowing on occasion to ballads that smolder like torch songs. Similarly, her voice initially sweet and girlish, but with each successive song, she reveals a remarkable range and depth to her singing. Since her voice is clear and lovely, the songs are tuneful without being flashy, and the production is quiet, subtly layered, George makes All Rise seem easy, and it's only when the record is over that it dawns on you what a rich, rewarding album it is. In that way, it's not dissimilar to her father's music, which always grew with repeated listens, but Inara's first album would be a remarkable debut no matter who her parents were.

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