George St Clair grew up on the high plains of Texas, where he formed a strong bond with the vastness of the great American West. His songs conjure up images of dry deserts and rolling grasslands, and the mountains of West Texas. Although he has lived in the UK for the past few years, George’s heart still lays in the land of his birth, and reflections on this are evident in his new album, ‘Ballads Of Captivity And Freedom’.
Growing up singing in Church, George’s love of music nonetheless compelled him to steal a friend’s guitar and learn how to play it, out at his family’s ranch in New Mexico. Eventually back in Austin he cut his musical chops by playing Country, Flamenco, and Salsa, before co-founding the band Soniquete, a linchpin of the city’s vibrant Alternative Latin scene.
With a bilingual mother who made sure her children regularly visited Mexico and learned Spanish, therefore acquiring a wider view of what it means to be an American – it should come as no surprise that George has for over 20 years pursued a career as a professional archeologist and anthropologist. He’s lived for extended periods in remote parts of the American Southwest, Mexico, Peru, and Brazil. Crossing and recrossing the Mexican border further fired up his historical imagination, and led him to London, where he obtained his PhD in Anthropology, which he followed up with a few years of lecturing and research at the London School Of Economics.
it was while George was immersing himself in Latin American music that ideas for melodies and verses came to him, almost always in the form of country ballads. As a result, he found his true voice, and his music draws on influences from the Western country traditions, Mexican folk music, and 1970s Texas balladry. His songs narrate hidden songs of the past and present; the struggles between the Native Americans and the white colonisers; and the plight of migrants to the US.
‘Ballads Of Captivity And Freedom’ is a twelve track album of feel good music set to heartfelt lyrics. it was recorded at Bird and Egg Studios in Richmond, California, and mixed by Ben Berstein at Petting Zoo studios in Oakland. The album is set for release on March 2, and can be pre-ordered from George St Clair’s website, Bandcamp, or streamed/downloaded from here.