Like many of Philthy’s favorite acts, Lauren Balthrop, aka Dear Georgiana, has a quirkily clever indie pop take on the Americana chanteuse. Balthrop grew up in Alabama, although she’s spent her recent years in NYC. Prior to being a solo artist she made a name for herself in Balthrop, Alabama, alongside her brother, Pascal, and 13 other artists and The Bandana Splits, a neo-girl-group she shared with Dawn Landes and Annie Nero. I recently got a chance to chat with Balthrop about her re-location to NYC and her self-titled solo debut, which dropped on May 20th.
Of her time spent in NYC and how she feels about the environment, the scene, and her peers, Balthrop tells me: “It’s huge. It can be overwhelming, but it feels, somehow, small, at the same time. There are just so many musicians. I love Elizabeth & the Catapult and The Yellowbirds [whose Josh Kaufman produced her recent solo LP], and Poison Tree.”
Although hyper-sunny lead single, “Wanna Be in Love,” utilizes the best kind of teen girl retro mega pop to leave listeners in a sugar coma, Dear Georgiana’s debut has many sides and, while it may be generally coated in a “pop” aesthetic, it doesn’t mind dancing on the darker side of “the self” either, producing a number of delectably earnest anti-love songs. In terms of her heroines and heroes and just what inspires her, Balthrop tells me, “Patsy Cline is a favorite of mine, and Emmylou Harris, and Paul McCartney, and Neil Young, if you’re talking about musicians… Nina Simone, she’s a badass.” But when I ask her about her biggest non-musical influences she says she’s inspired by, “My friends… although a lot of them are musicians… in life, it’s definitely my mom.”[youtube http://youtu.be/6n5bwdyyctE]
Dear Georgiana’s first LP has already received some pretty glowing reviews. Consequence of Sound proclaimed, “There is a charm to her writing that makes her heartache believable and measurable. So much so that it’s hard not to fall under her spell.” And For Folk’s Sake went so far as to say, “After one listen I had to stop myself opening the window and shouting at passersby that they had to go and buy a copy immediately.” “That was pretty awesome,” Balthrop tells me of the FFS review.
This Sunday, June 2nd, Dear Georgiana will be performing at Rockwood Music Hall for their album release party, which will have the project performing with its most dynamic lineup: “For my New York shows I generally have a full band and at my album release, this Sunday, I’ll have a horns section.” But if you won’t have the chance to see Dear Georgiana in NYC, it’s looking like you’ll have the chance in the very near future. I ask Balthrop about her biggest hopes and goals for 2013 and she seems to be very focused on being on the road.
“I’m gonna make another music video, which looks like it may be fan-funded. I hope to get over and tour the UK. I just hope to start touring, which I haven’t really done yet. I’m hoping to make it down to Philly in July.” (I gave her Bill from Milkboy’s contact info, so hopefully we’ll get to spend a warm summer night with Ms. Balthrop on 11th and Chestnut.)
*photo by Shervin Lainez