The latest offering from George Ensle is SMALL TOWN SUNDOWN - a Movie In Song about a small Texas town, its hardships and characters who make it a strong community. The prodigal returns to bury his Grandpa as the CD opens, and as the story unfolds, through crisis and hope, he comes home to rebuild his life, and the life of his hometown. George Ensle
”BUILD A BRIDGE”
©2008 Berkalin Records
Review by Lucky Boyd
As I sit to write, I notice a dedication on the back of the CD to Marion Francis Jackson Ensle (August 18, 1908 – November 8, 2007) making this just one year since Marion’s passing. George Ensle can be proud that even though it has been a tough year, the net result is his best album to-date. “BUILD A BRIDGE” is an uplifting, inspirational collection of stories set to energetic folk arrangements. Ensle’s voice is comfortable and inviting, keeping you listening with ease and eagerness. “Second Chances” is one of the most entertaining cuts, a menagerie of images that begs a second listen. I’m having this amazing déjà vu listening to “Christmas Truce of 1914” as I recall a song performed by my good friend Larry Lyon years ago. This song is a bit of a sequel to “Christmas In The Trenches.” Oh, how great it would be to get these two songs on the same album. “Daybreak Snow” is haunted throughout by Townes Van Zandt’s spirit, and he would have loved to cover this song. Beth Galiger’s flute work is outstanding. Your toes will tap listening to “Circuit Preacher.” The most Van Zandt-esque song is the title cut which when properly received will bring emotion. This is Ensle’s best song on Ensle’s best album. I feel improved just by hearing this disc. If you are inclined to buy your first George Ensle CD, start with this one…. Oh, what the heck, get ‘em all. Marion thanks you.
©2006 Gazebo Records
Review by Lucky Boyd
I love one-take albums and here’s a good one. No need to spend months with the works in the can waiting for countless over-caffeinated reassessments at the mixing board softly killing the original intent of the art. George Ensle and the Groove Angels Ensemble walk into a radio station studio and put it all on the line with Austin, Texas listening. The result is an album that has every instrument inflection still in tact, each tiny faux pax in place, every groove preserved. Like a master’s painting, each crack of drying paint becoming character and defying critique, one-take albums are for all of us to hear the chemistry of the musicians without the distraction of a crowd. Live albums are different in that we get to hear the musicians feeding off the energy of the crowd. I like a good one-take album because I can hear the groove being hit by the collective souls of the musicians, synergistically creating something that was never there before, and not requiring induced energy created by spectators. Ensle and the GAE conjure the groove on almost every cut of this release, and when they hit it, you can feel it. It’s there on the opening cut “Uncle Jack” and you’ll hear it throughout the album. The project has many attributes and is a worthy release showing a great deal of the softer side of George Ensle with poignant ballads as well as a couple of nice toe-tappers. Ensle’s writing is solid, as expected. Greg Lowry’s dobro and Greg Whitfield’s guitar steal the instrumental spotlight. The highlight of the disc is one you might have to sit down for. Sit down, put on some headphones and play “The Troubadour” at a moderate level. Imagine the singer has recently ingested a performance-altering amount of vodka and the room is smoky and dim. Imagine the rhythms going softly off beat now and then and a couple of subtle time signature changes. Imagine Wrecks Bell on bass and Mickey White on lead guitar. Imagine just coming in out of the hot Houston air, stepping into the hallowed confines of the original Old Quarter. Now listen, and you’ll hear Ensle as he channels the very soul of Townes Van Zandt. For a second, if you listen very close, you might hear Townes singing along.
©1990 Gazebo Records
Review by Lucky Boyd
This album is the middle child of Ensle’s trifecta of releases. Offered in 1990, the album is timeless, with songs as meaningful and polished as any current release. Produced with Lloyd Maines, the album lives up to this moniker with perfection at every turn. George Ensle’s voice is ideal for his troubadour delivery, blending country and folk rhythms into a unique sound that lies somewhere between the poignancy of Townes Van Zandt and the cavalier comfort of Willie Nelson. Ensle’s writing leans to it’s own level, never waffling between genre camps, but rather giving you country when you expect it and something else when required. Ensle’s use of the waltz is masterful on “Where Nobody Sees” and his border work is flawless on “Cantas Con Tu Corazon.” Influences that range from folk, bluegrass and Foley-esque lyricism pepper the album giving it a quality that might be lost but for the excellent production, delivery, and performance. As I think back on the early nineties, I’m trying hard to think of an album with as much heart. Nope, nothing comes to mind. Get your copy today.
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