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A Vermont-based singer/songwriter, Eric George writes songs imbued with both the tradition and the spirit of rural American folk, but he also manages to make his songs modern and fresh without coming across as contrived or derivative in any way. His latest album, Not About Nightingales, is his most startlingly authentic yet; and the warm, inviting production gives the impression not of new originals but of old standards echoing through the years. In fact, at times it sounds like George is merely cherry-picking from the Anthology of American Folk Music, that’s how convincing many of his songs are.
George’s heartfelt vocals is what makes this a unmistakable product of the 21st century, and his lyrics do indeed have a certain modern sensibility. But songs like “I Was Trying to Describe You” are filled with imagery that calls to mind American traditions and history hundreds of years old. He’s tapped into something primitive in the national spirit that pours out whether it’s something carefully composed like “River For Your Dam,” or a relative and fun throwaway like “Cure For His Soul.” Not About Nightingales has captured American folk music in a way that countless other musicians have failed to do, and with any luck, many of these songs will become standards in their own right.