ALI GEORGE – HARD TO FIND

The last time we listened to Ali George, we were blown away by the subtle Americana leanings of his slightly Mark Knopfler style of playing in his track, Little Prophecy, so we were thrilled to see his name hit the top of our reviews pile here at the Send Me Your Ears studio, with his latest single, Hard To Find.

Hard To Find is about the struggles of everyday people, who are trying to find a way to pursue their dreams, amid the pressures of work, the restrictions of lockdown, and the chaos of modern-day living. It also focuses on how hard it is to live with others in a lockdown situation.

Hard To Find starts with a John Martyn-style guitar riff that melts away the troubles of the day and puts you instantly in a relaxed mood. Ali’s superbly skilled percussive way of playing acoustic guitar is front and centre in the track, and with good reason – this is some truly beautiful playing.

The whole song has a very chilled-out David Grey/ Jack Johnson feel to it. There are moments where the vocals reminded us of Paulo Nutini and at other times, the skills in the acoustic guitar also brought Newton Faulkner to mind.

We love the subtle harmonies that come in during the first chorus that come in and out occasionally throughout the rest of the song. We also love the development of this track in the second verse – something which Ali George did expertly on Little Prophecy as well. In Hard To Find, George brings in some subtle drums and bass in the second verse.

The addition of some smooth strings lines weaving between the vocal lines is a nice touch and keeps the listener thoroughly enthralled and invested in the song right to the last note.

From a production perspective, we’d suggest a hi-pass filter at 40Hz to remove all the low-end rumble created from the persuasive guitar track. Also, it sounds like the guitar may be resonating at on the G so a careful surgical cut at 196Hz would reduce that slight peak. A cut around 500Hz in the vocal track would reduce some occasional ‘honky’ tones too. Some extra clarity could be achieved with a small but wider cut centred around 250Hz and a small but wide boost centred around 8kHz. There are some sibilant sounds in the vocal track around 6kHz so be careful not to boost these too much.

This is such a smooth and easy to listen to track with fantastic separation between sections and a great hook – another real winner from this burgeoning British artist. Someone whom we could well expect to see nominated in the BBC2 Folk Awards before too long.