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Local Songwriter Ian George’s “Kingdom of My Youth” is No Ordinary Album 

The back story is so interesting that it sounds like fiction

Ian George
Ian George

Following the disillusion of his Portland-based band Patchy Sanders, Ian George went backpacking in Europe (as one often does). A chance encounter with popular French rock songwriter Mathieu Chedid, known as M-, led to the creation of Kingdom of my Youth 

Although only recently acquainted, the popular French musician insisted that George record his album at Labo M., a 17th-century manor originally built for King Louis XVI’s nephew in Paris. George brought the band together in a hurry, finding the right group while traveling across Norway, London, Paris, and Brooklyn.  

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Today I release an album that's been finished for nearly a year now. Goshy, life being so full with a new babe and relocating from the west coast to the midwest, it just hasn't been possible to surface it. It's felt like my little secret. I've had so much time (probably too much time) to ruminate and reflect on the record, the songs, a new 'solo' project, agendas…. Why make music? Why make albums? Why dedicate a life to art? Why do anything? Does anybody listen to new albums? Still, I've not an answer to any of these questions. You can find the full album at either website in bio. You can also stream it on all those streaming things and if you want a compact disc, PM me and I'll send one your way. If not for you, then for your grandma's 1989 volvo station wagon.. Know what I mean?? Well here it is. My little offering to the people of the world: a collage of sonic frequencies concerning one boy's perspective of life as a human being. I'm really proud of it, my best work yet honeys. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to make art in such a glorious place with such fine company; a privilege. I hope it brings emotion and contemplation into your life, even for a moment. Deep gratitude for @efeygelson, @jacobmatheus, @akalmusik, Mattieu Chedid, and Nicolas Souchal for bequeathing upon this album succulent tones of love. @naviwhitten , love ye mate, thanks for the companionship and for capturing some really good moments. @copycatsmedia thanks for the stellar print job. @westwestsidemusic Thanks Alan Douches for the Mastering work xx ian #newmusic #newalbum #avantfolk #birchtrees #minnesotamusicscene @thecurrent @37d03d @eauxclaireswi @atwoodmagazine @popmatters @nprmusic #npr #independentmusic @luckybirdmedia @bbcradio1 @bbcradio2 @bbc5live @bbc6music @bbc @bbcscotland @bbcsounds @bbc @nestfolk @woodburnermusic @pickathon #brooklynmusic #brooklynmusicians @pitchfork @pitchforkparis @jeffersonpublicradio @cambridgefolkfest @sistersfolkfestival @jagjaguwar @nonesuchrecords @tenderlovingempire @asthmatickittyrecords #debutalbum #folkmusic

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The songs are strong, featuring sparse arrangements that accentuate George’s tender-but-strong vocals and engaging melodies. The band gives the material a cool, international flavor with its world beat rhythms, percussion straight out of a Parisian café, and well-placed accents of trumpet, flugelhorn, and violin.  

Although not a concept album about youth, Kingdom finds George looking back at his home of Minnesota in addition to touching on his national and international travels (“Gitche Gumee,” “Better with a Buddy”). Ode to impressionist painter Wassily Kandinsky (simply “Kandinsky”) is another highlight.  

Kingdom of my Youth is a well-crafted indie folk album. Its touch of world music gives it a flavor as unique as its back story.    

Check out the CD release show for the album on Thursday, Feb. 21 at the Icehouse. Tickets are $8 advance and $10 at the door.

Written by Erik Ritland

Erik Ritland is a songwriter, musician, journalist, and podcaster based in Nashville, Tennessee. He’s released over a dozen albums since 2002, most recently Old Dog Almost Gone (2021), the first-ever multimedia album, and his latest collection of all original material, A Scientific Search (2020). During his 15+ years as a music journalist, Erik has written hundreds of articles for Music in Minnesota, Something Else Reviews, his own blog Rambling On, and more. In addition to continuing his music career, Erik currently runs The Cosmic American, a music journalism website, and is the editor of Music in Minnesota.


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