I had the pleasure of seeing Inara George’s live show at The Echo in Echo Park, Los Angeles, as the Monday night featured performance. Songs from her album, “All Rise” have been featured on KCRW’s “Morning Comes Ecclectic.” At first glance, you might mistake the Topanga native as a dead ringer for Alyssa Milano with a pixie cut, in a vintage mod-style dress. Like any professional, she made articulate singing look easy. Her astonishing sound centers around her seamless silken voice and sophisticated lilt, punctuating expressions as she sings. On her more frank and upbeat songs, her tones become buoyant, giving the listener company for the electronic retro ride she takes them on. As an original talent she has a definite fit in the current Adult Alternative format. One can hear a coordination of the band’s influences drawing from Stereolab, Bjork, Radiohead, Coldplay, the Cranberries, some Moody Blues, and even Nina Simone. If you do get “All Rise” there is not a song that deserves skipping.
Her live musicians each possessed as much character as she did. The band consisted of Inara George herself, along with an intense red-haired keyboardist, a comically enthusiastic drummer, a cool bass player and her co-writer and guitarist, Michael Andrews, who wore a stylish mop-top and mod striped bellbottoms. Andrews, who produced “All Rise” also has a background in film scoring for movies like “Donnie Darko.” George ended the evening singing “Autumn Leaves” and promoting a Topanga tribute to Leonard Cohen. Her ballads in particular were extremely bare and intimate. The emotional tones in her ballads expressed a gentle sadness, both warm and melancholy.
For introducing these elements into a special evening try pairing Inara George’s sultry songs with a 2001 Robert Mondavi Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon. With a rating of 93 points from Wine Enthusiast, this rich Cabernet is a fine, smooth match for George’s gliding voice. Its layers of deep complexity make this wine a thoughtful companion for the music. Whether you get a chance to see Inara George perform or you have her album playing in your home, do enjoy the 2001 Oakville Cabernet ($39.99 a bottle) to enhance your mood.