Interview with film-maker, Sam Holloway, plus performance.
Ali George is an extraordinary singer-songwriter and guitarist from Bath, UK. He has supported folk acts such as: Martin Simpson, Roy Harper, Gren Bartley, Steve Tilson, Nick Harper and Rory McLeod.
Ali has made five albums of original material and performed at Glastonbury and The Village Pump (Trowbridge) festivals, and venues such as the Wiltshire Music Centre, The Michael Tippett Centre in Bath, and countless smaller venues in Bristol and the South West.
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. Later that year he created a music video for the title track of the album with Jack George, which was televised and won a young film-maker’s award.
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, and authentic sound. He also experimented with longer, darkly epic songs with unusual open tunings. Irish violinist Katie Stone-Lonergan played on several songs, and he began being more experimental in the studio, adding over-dubbed melodeon, vocals, and slide guitar.
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; so 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 (his most polished record so far), which featured the renowned and unforgettable Beth Porter on cello. Some of the songs featured Ali on electric guitar for the first time, giving the album a fresher, brighter tone; including a tour de force solo on the rock ballad Faded Out. Elation Spark showed some of Ali’s inspirations from classical guitar, and Mushroom Picking demonstrated his love of Ragtime music. Fallen Jewel was launched with a five-piece band at The Chapel Arts Centre in Bath, with great success.
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, an upcoming record label called 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, TV and advertising!
Ali began recording his new album in November 2019. The album is now finished! It will be available soon! It features Beth Porter on cello, Tom Allen on double bass, Josh West on drums, Jools Scott on piano, accordion and hammond organ, and Ruby Brown on backing vocals.
The British National Library have recently added six of Ali's releases to their permanent collection.
"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.