Yes, California Country is a thing. It’s a beautiful thing, actually. It’s the gift Victoria George gives her growing legion of fans everyday, and it’s worth knowing intimately.
California Country happens when places like Northern California’s Marin County and country music meccas like Nashville collide. The result in Victoria George’s case is rather fascinating — a sound that’s part San Francisco folk, part Nashville/bluegrass twang, all heart and revelations and smarty-pants yarn-spinnin’. Gather round, Victoria beckons.
Victoria is by now a confident mid-career singer-songwriter who knows what and who she is. She comes from a family of artists and herself has a background in theater. And, well, she’s lovely. So it’s not all that surprising she commands a stage with the zeal of an Allison Krauss or Bonnie Raitt, artists who check their pretention at the door and prefer honest-to-goodness stories.
Music biz folks have indeed taken notice throughout the years. Victoria has worked in and outside of Nashville’s finest publishing houses and shared bills with the likes of Brandi Carlisle, the Doobie Brothers, Steve Earle, Delta Rae and other industry names that speak for themselves.
To a person, she’ll say she’s never fit cleanly into the San Francisco or Nashville Venn diagram. Ambitious as she is, Victoria really doesn’t care much for catering her sound to fit mainstream country conventions. She writes songs the way chefs surprise regulars — love songs turn dark and drinking songs morph into existential mediations with regularity (related warning: the song “Sweet Amnesia” should only be consumed right before happy hours). Defining tracks like “Letters” and “Tables are Turning” smack listeners in the face with street-philosopher smarts. Nothing quite like it in Nashville, California or anywhere radios hold court.
But she embraces her place in the lineage of folk artists primarily concerned with crafting songs to make people think and feel something meaningful. That’s the California Country way, and the Victoria George creed.