"George Montague is a name that, if you haven’t heard a lot of it yet, the likelihood is that you soon will… the album, ‘Curiouser and Curiouser George’, is a genuine pop treat, blending the stylised pop fun of Scissor Sisters with the acoustic songwriting of Jason Mraz. It’s an album of real variety, pulled together by his ruthless charm" The Music Site
“Lost” is a slick pop track based around acoustic guitar… the upbeat, mid- tempo pace does a great job of encapsulating his live appeal. Later this summer comes a new album, and having been lucky enough to hear a full preview, I can confirm that trend continues, with neat studio touches embellishing an LP which is full of guile and invention." WhisperinandHollerin
Our Rating: **********
“Eccentric but immediately accessible, ‘Curiouser and Curiouser George’ is a new album set for a summer release by excellent songwriter George Montague. His sound is a creative mix of pop with a number of genres, including funk, indie and even a touch of electronica, making the album a varied one full of invention” BuzzJack
"‘Curiouser and Curiouser George’ is the full LP, released later this summer, which may well find George Montague the spotlight he deserves… However, teetering on the edge is not enough in this game. With any luck, ‘Curiouser and Curiouser George’ might just be the thing to push him over." Real Music Network
"George Montague is an artist who not only holds great skill in the instruments he plays, but also knits them together in fantastically well written and produced songs. Bringing together all these elements to simply create good songs would be a sign of an assured songwriter, but the fact that he manages to sound like more than the sum of his own talents marks him out as a great one" Music Crowns
“‘Curiouser and Curiouser George’ has a genuine chance of taking Montague into the mainstream, making him a household name in the process” Indie Music Mag
"This album and single might just see George Montague pop his head through that glass ceiling this summer – get on board now so you can brag to your friends that you found him first" Trisickle
“George Montague hits home run with new sound and new single ‘Lost’ ” Unfashionable Male
"A young songwriter with a big future, George Montague is a new pop artist who is turning heads in all the right places. ‘Curiouser and Curiouser George’ finds a talented artist on mercurial form, bringing his own wit and spin to the acoustic pop genre. There’s something immediate about Montague’s sound that sets him apart, and all those people tuning in to his YouTube output can’t be wrong." Just Can't Get Enough Music
"‘Lost’ single out now from pop wizard George Montague, one of the most exciting musical prospects in the UK right now. Taken from his new album ‘Curiouser and Curiouser George’, the track serves two masters. First, it confirms to long term fans that he’s still writing radio-ready, accessible independent music. Second, it’s a fine introduction for newbies to his considerable charm. Catchy in all the right ways, this is one independent pop artist who deserves a groundswell of support from music fans in the UK and beyond." Skip To The Good Hit
Simon Rickards, Gloucester News Centre (Gloucester Guildhall 3.9.16) “…what a great live show he delivers, full of energy, originality and showmanship that show his class. He also has an immense versatility – incorporating guitar, keyboard, beatbox and loop station into his songs – it’s hard not to think of some of the work that Ed Sheeran has done. That said I’m not drawing a lazy comparison; George has a style of his own – his songs are infectious, melodic and have an intense passion about them which draw you in. My particular highlight came from a personal favourite from his back catalogue, a song that actually I’ve featured in one of my columns on Gloucester News Centre – the brilliant F.I.N.E. George warmed the crowd up perfectly for Emily’s set, encouraging them to sing along to a number of his tracks and setting things up nicely. A great performance by a truly special talent.”
Mike Read, BBC Radio Berkshire "George Montague, may contain nuts!"
Danny Brothers, For Folk's Sake "the engaging and charismatic George Montague on-stage presence lights up the room. Utilising guitar, ukulele and keys as well as beat box samples, his positivity shines through and translates into powerful and unique songs."
Sam Bonham, BBC Introducing "A true instrumentalist...the gift that keeps on giving, that is George Montague."
Kate Justice, BBC Radio Gloucestershire "I love it when you're in the studio...That is incredible, the energy is bounding off you in waves. Sounds bloomin' lovely." - Sticks and Stones acoustic studio session
Hannah Bailey, The Fix Magazine I suspect there are few things more depressing for an up-and-coming musician than playing to an audience only slightly greater than the number of fingers on his hands. It says a great deal for jazz funk singer-songwriter George Montague that he didn’t let this bother him during his supporting slot at St James’ Wine Vaults in Bath on this particular Friday night.
His was a tightly focused, barnstorming set on piano, guitar and ukulele liberally punctuated with witty, self-deprecating asides. It immediately made you forget the cold and dingy cellar venue in a friendly pub which is defiantly resisting the gentrification of Bath’s watering holes, and – no mean feat this – imagine yourself in a field at a festival with the sun on your back and a cold cider in your hand.
His style is hard to pin down: sometimes fast and furious, sometimes mellow and melodious, sometimes loud and sometimes soft, and sometimes all of the above in one song alone. He can sound like Elton John, and he can sound like a busker in Nashville. He flits confidently between piano, ukulele and guitar, his songs featuring simple yet poignant lyrics and his jazz influences staying very much the right side of indulgent.
Put simply, he is a joy to watch and part of that enjoyment comes from the pleasure he himself seems to get from performing live, even on nights like this. It is particular relief that he eschews the usual solo male singer-songwriter dirges in favour of lively tracks with a strong sense of fun. He’s not silly (apart from when talking in between songs), he’s just capable of expressing emotion in a way that means you can’t help but listen.
Montague has thoroughly embraced social media, with most of his songs garnering a very respectable (for a newcomer) 500k hits on Youtube, blogging on Tumblr and posting short video clips on Vine. It must have been tempting for him to stick to better known and tried-and-tested tracks, but instead he used the intimate setting to try out some new material, playing all the instruments himself rather than relying on his usual six piece session musicians, collectively known as ‘notsobigband’. And he gave good banter, regularly asking the audience for feedback on which instrument to use and what kind of song to play.
His first, “Sticks and Stones”, was a country-tinged affair using only a beautiful marbled wood guitar called Gloria and a bass drum called Boom which got feet tapping immediately with its quick strumming and pace. “Miss You” moved to the piano, featuring delicate tinkling melodies and a tight arrangement – unsurprisingly it is when playing the piano that Montague sounds most like Elton John. His confident, full voice across the range of musical expression makes something complex appear very easy.
“The Smoke” was a very fast, furious and funky track. It was his first on the ukulele (called Luna), and featured cheeky scat improvised vocals. And “Umbrella” was not, as you might initially have thought, a Rihanna cover but a big-band style tune with lots of plinky-plonky piano. Open Letter, enjoying its first debut live outing, was a thoughtful letter to God, and the last song – called Risk – was a fast, rhythmic guitar number with powerful, hooky melodies.
It’s pretty hard to fathom why there weren’t more people at this gig, especially given that Montague was supporting soulful Dorset singer Jazz Morley. But despite the low turnout, it was clear that Montague is on the cusp of some very interesting things indeed.
Putting on a show seemed to be becoming the theme of the day. Twenty one year old singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist George Montague is another born entertainer, a restless stage presence with a goofy, almost camp sense of humour. More importantly he’s a singer with a soulful voice that is well suited to his pop/r’n'b material and an excellent pianist who is also capable of occasionally doubling up on guitar or even ukulele.
Although he was the least obviously “jazz” act that I saw this weekend his “notsobigband” featured a number of names that have graced the Jazzmann pages including guitarist Lee Jones, drummer Tom Hooper and a rather underused Andy Hague on trumpet. Bristol based Hague was part of a horn section that also featured trombonist Matt Coleman and tenor saxophonist Dan Foster. The electric bass of Harry Sutton rounded out the group.
Montague began at the piano for “Blood Ties” a song featuring an agreeable funk groove and an opening solo from guitarist Jones.
“Love Struck Fool”, a modern variation on the Cinderella story was sourced from Montague’s début album “Have You Met George?” and exhibited a real r’n'b raunch with features for Jones and Coleman plus the whistling of Montague.
The eccentric “Otto Orange” was described by Montague as being about a “teenager who doesn’t do much”. The song saw Montague moving to his acoustic guitar (apparently called “Gloria”) and borrowing from Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit In The Sky” riff.
Montague moved back to piano for “Speechless”, another song steeped in vintage r’n'b and fuelled by a tight bass and drum groove plus the punchy attack of the horns and particularly featured tenor soloist Foster.
Foster and bassist Sutton were also in fine form on “Mind”, another song sourced from Montague’s début album.
The title of the next piece eluded me but featured Montague moving between electric piano and ukulele as Sutton’s funky electric bass groove laid the foundations for solos from Foster, Hague, Coleman and Jones on one of the set’s most obviously jazz orientated pieces.
The mock horror of “Hamish” featured Montague at his most eccentric. A restless performer the manic energy and wacky humour of his performance had many of the audience wondering “ just what is he on?” - the answer being nothing more than youthful ebullience and enthusiasm hopefully. Twice he left the stage to race dementedly around the venue as the band played on, Lee Jones holding the fort with an excellent guitar solo.
“Evil Twin” was played after a vociferous request from a female member of the audience and adopted a ska groove, with another quasi theatrical performance from Montague climaxed by a powerful solo from Hooper at the drums. The set concluded with audience sing-along “The Smoke”. Like Fresh Dixie project Montague enjoyed an overwhelmingly enthusiastic reception.
Overall Montague’s material was all a bit too “poppy” for my tastes but once again I enjoyed what I had seen. Montague is obviously a considerable talent, a powerful singer and a more than useful instrumentalist. He’s also got a genuine stage presence, albeit a decidedly wacky one. The singer was well served by an excellent band, many of them comparative veterans who wouldn’t be playing with this guy if he hadn’t got what it takes. Not entirely my cup of tea (something incidentally, that Montague uses as a prop) but expect to hear a lot more from George Montague. Mainstream success may beckon and I wouldn’t rule out his coming back to headline in the Big Top some time in the future.
Ian’s Star Rating 3.5 Stars each
Adrian Pallant, AP Reviews Cheltenham Jazz Festival, next month, welcomes local lad George Montague on the back of an impressive 2012 album, ‘have you met George’. Gloucestershire-based Montague is garnering a keen following, thanks to this debut release and his high-energy live shows (including swiftly-increasing thousands of hits on his YouTube channel).
Montague’s strong piano/vocal style might best be described as ‘pop jazz’ or ‘rock jazz funk’, with favourable comparisons readily coming to mind – a ‘Twentysomething’ Jamie Cullum, a ’52nd Street’ Billy Joel, a dash of Ryan Adams and, at times, a ‘Tumbleweed’ Elton John. That said, these eleven self-penned compositions provide the springboard for an individual, dynamic and assured performance throughout. Gritty vocals and high jinks drive the album along, with George’s versatility taking a lead on piano and Rhodes (also a whizz on guitar and even ukulele) – all supported by a solid rhythm section, powerful horns, deft guitar soloing and marvellously tight backing vocal harmonies (the ‘notsobigband’ title belying their apparent, combined energy!).
The playlist twists and turns in style and mood, from the funky guitar grooves and brassy stabs of the opening ‘Blood Ties’, through a similarly up-tempo (almost Madness-tinged) ‘White Cavalry’, to the catchy ‘Hold On’. ‘Waiting Room’ painfully remembers a dear, departed friend, whilst ‘Yellow Shoes’ follows with an appealing, soulful vocal. Billowing profusely is the metal-injected ‘The Smoke’, and ‘Hamish’ relentlessly hammers along in exciting, rapid, Cullumesque jazz fashion before giving way to the more reflective, flugel-interspersed ‘Mind’.
George Montague’s ebullience is infectious on this well-packaged first album which brims with vitality, emotion and, most of all, unrestrained fun! Certainly a feel-good collection which, on 6th May, should have Cheltenham’s Jazz Arena rocking!
Yasmin Ali, Bright Shiny News George Montague's long waited debut doesn't disappoint...
George Montague has already clocked up more than 3 million views on Youtube with his unique brand of charismatic pop funk and now that the Gloucestershire boy has created one of the most engaging albums in history, its no surprise he has received worldwide appraisal.
George has the wisdom of someone way beyond his 21 years of age. He is an accomplished piano, bass, ukulele and guitar player. Not to mention a talented singer-songwriter. Have You Met George is a blend of genres from soul to pop spawning an upbeat bouncy debut album.
The standout track on the album is 'Waiting Room ' a wonderfully touching tribute to his friend who is no longer with us. This spine tingling song shows that George has the ability to evoke real emotion to anyone who listens to him, something that is desperately missing in mainstream pop music these days.
His hopeless romantic side is unleashed in 'Blood Ties' a funky number that will have your feet within a couple of seconds of listening. But its George's sharp grizzly vocals that really command your attention.
Hold On will put a spring into your step. The groovy song about the rollercoaster ride that is life will relate to everyone and anyone.
Infectiously catchy 'Hamish' will be stuck in your head from the first listen. This will become an instant jazz classic with its optimistic ambience.
The tempo is taken down for 'Footprints In The Rain' which is a poignant soulful ballad with George's raspy voice taking centre stage.
George Montague has created one of the most innovative debut albums of 2012. Move over Ed Sheeran there is a new male singer songwriter phenomenon.
Stephen Morris, Music Reviewer for BBC News George Montague is very annoying. Anyone who has read this writer's coverage of 2012's Wychwood Festival will be familiar with this observation. Accompanied by bass and drums, Montague's principally piano-based set on the festival's final day was an explosion of creativity, passion and fun. Lots of passion. Bucketfuls of fun. Back on that day, it was clear for all to see; Montague is a formidable talent, as composer, multi-instrumentalist and all round showman. Hence the 'annoying' comment. No one should be this good at so many things.
George Montague's debut album, Have You Met George, captured the incendiary spirit of his live performance within the confines of a studio setting.
The studio being Rockfield Studios, the birthplace of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody and much of Coldplay's debut album. Every silver lining has its cloud. Strange as it may sound to anyone with experience of witnessing Montague and his band perform, the album has a fuller sound (or should that be EVEN fuller sound?) with saxophones, brass and soul-filled, 'Dark Side of the Moon' backing vocals adding to the basic line up. The result is somewhere between Ben Folds Five, Mika and Jamie Cullum.
'Funky swagger' It's a creation built around Montague's piano-based virtuosity. Much of this faultlessly constructed album is given over to pomp and funky swagger. As a showman, Montague knows how to delight and connect with his audience's soul - even with the barriers of time and space separating his recording of songs from the listener's appreciation of them.
And so 'Have You Met…' opens in fine blustering fashion with 'Blood Ties', boasting much of what is to come: soulful harmonies, funky riffs from the brass and, course, the jazzy grooves from the piano flitting with dragonfly dexterity around Montague's snarling, growling, self-assured vocals.
Like any perfectly crafted album (for that is what we are talking about here), 'Have You Met…' takes things down a notch through the middle of the record.
''Footprints in the Rain' is a slower, introspective ballad while 'Waiting Room' is a beautiful, mournful tribute to a deceased friend.
And then, as befits the nature of good records, things pick up, the beats kick back in and the bold, brassiness re-emerges.
Montague cranks things up, first with 'Hamish' in which our hero personifies the sensation of music pervading your consciousness.
It's an epic song, recalling early Ben Folds Five (a bit of 'Underground' here, a bit of 'Satan is my Master' there) and jazz-embracing Tom Waits, both at their most gleefully chaotic.
'Celebration of life' The album closes in reflective mood with 'Mind' and 'Pocket Full', the latter being a tribute to Montague's parents, the former being an introspective thought-piece.
Despite the impressive range in tone and texture of the album, there is a marvellous sense of continuity to the record which pays no attention to the position of the volume controls.
The album is peppered with lyrics about blood, veins, arteries, shivers down spines, breaths, feet tapping and hands beating.
You'll find fewer references to parts of the body on 'Dem Bones'.
''Have You Met George' is a celebration of life: whether that is the thrill of sensory delights in the form of 'Hamish' or 'Shiver', the magnificence of love in 'Blood Ties', or more poignant reflections on those no longer with us 'Waiting Room'.
It is a musical marvel and something of a masterpiece.
Tom Robinson, BBC 6Music "Daft, charming and original" - White Cavalry video and song.
Tom Robinson BBC 6Music “I met the charismatic and talented pianist and songwriter George Montague this weekend at Wiltshire's Concert At The Kings - a Rock Against Cancer gig hosted by Bob Harris with a lineup that included Madeline Bell, Midge Ure, Brian May, Mike Rutherford and The Sweet. Last Month we featured a song by George on this mixtape called White Cavalry, which had already enjoyed nearly half a million views on YouTube. Yesterday he gave me a copy of his beautifully presented CD album Have You Met George, from which this is his - and my - favourite track. Mind”
Sam Lee, Fresh on the Net "It’s easy to see Montague filling the well-polished shoes of Jamie Cullum et al with his infectious, Radio 2-friendly big band sound." - Blood Ties
No Crowd Surfing Music Blogger "Song of the Week - The Smoke. Great name, great song. Proof jazz can ROCK"
Gemma Dunstan, BBC Introducing “This guy is fantastic! So glad to have him as part of @bbc_introducing @WychwoodFest”
Reviewage Stephen Morris “GeorgeMontague is so good I think I might hate him! #wychwood
People who have used the phrase "tearing the place apart" haven't heard @GeorgeMontague who's just redefined the term at #wychwood”
CoralRoseRadio “Exciting to play the INCREDIBLE @GeorgeMontague on our New Music Show from LONDON - International AWESOME music This guy totally ROCKS!”
“One guy ROCKING our radio station, Rocking our playlist is the AMAZING Rock Jazz Funk Singer - Songwriter @GeorgeMontague #Amazeballs”
Paul Moss, BBC Introducing 'I like that lots... One of the rising stars of the Gloucestershire music scene. Absolutely flying, if you look in the sky you can almost see the trajectory of his meteoric rise'
Claire Carter, BBC Radio Gloucestershire 'Something else that's fabulous, Mind by George Montague, I think this is beautiful. Remember the name'
Cheltenham Underground 'Another jewel in the crown that is Cheltenham's music scene - George Montague - Jazz and then some'
John Drummond, Brewery Blues Cirencester 'A natural born entertainer, George in his lighter moments resembles Norman Wisdom meets Jim Carey. But don’t let that fool you, as a singer-songwriter he’s an artist who is destined for great things - playing straight from the heart... A tremendous talent. In years to come you’ll still be reminiscing about the night you saw George Montague' -
Jess Bracey, Stroud FM 'With the soul of Jamie Cullum mixed with modern-day jazz and big brass sounds, George Montague has put his own stamp on a new era of artists with this bold toe-tapping debut album. It certainly packs a punch and makes you explore an encyclopaedia of instruments which gives you a vivid insight into what George is about. The inspirational lyrics of Footprints in the Rain combined with the upbeat and seductive nature of White Cavalry takes you on one epic musical journey from start to finish. Entitled 'Have you Met George', I am sure I'm one of many who can proudly say that they know this hard-working, passionate and talented beyond belief individual'
Candia McKormack, Cotswold Life Magazine 'Fantastic performance by George Montague... the love child of Little Richard & Nina Simone and younger brother Jamie Cullum never had!'
Matt Butler, Record Producer 'George Montague is a wonderful discovery. He has a collection of songs to leap out of your radio and a fruitcake style you can't ignore on your TV. And what a band! George and his players are brilliantly entertaining, be warned...'
Stephen Morris BBC News (review of Wychwood Festival 2012) 'A further example of youth prodigy is Gloucestershire's George Montague, already familiar to many of BBC Radio Gloucestershire's listeners. His brand of jazz-rock fusion is breath taking, calling to mind a worthy comparison with Ben Folds Five.There are elements of soul and funk (along with musical allusions to Mika and Billy Joel) and plenty of fun in his songs. Where else could you expect to hear a song in which the phenomenon of having songs stuck in your head is humanised and given the name ''Hamish'? Nowhere. That's where. Absolutely nowhere.
George Montague is, to put it bluntly, annoyingly talented. He deserves only to do very, very well. And this is even more annoying. George Montague is so good I think I might hate him! People who have used the phrase "tearing the place apart" haven't heard George Montague who's just redefined the term at Wychwood.'
Kate Justice, BBC Bristol (LIVE Session) 'One crazy dude... one exceptional and gifted musician...Wow, George you're brilliant, I'm lost for words. That's incredible... this guy’s amazing... I feel like you should be on a bigger stage... I am hugely impressed.'
Madeleine Ware, BBC Points West 'He's great! Brilliant start to a career.'
Chris Baxter, BBC Radio Gloucestershire 'One of the guys I’m excited about playing at Nibley Festival is George Montague ...I think he’s going to be a star of the future.'
Michael Rowland, This Is A Popscene (21 Things That Were Great About Wychwood 2012) '2) George Montague – Just as I began to flag on Sunday afternoon I was drawn to the BBC Introducing Stage by the sound of Wychwood’s most unexpected highlights. Mixing rock/pop, soul, blues and everything else you can think of to create a fun, energetic and enigmatic sound. Engaging with the crowd brilliantly, George seemed like one of life’s genuinely nice people - his music was top quality.'
Elaine Mclaren, Weekend Citizen (Gloucestershire) & Gloucestershire Echo 'He’s a piano man - if you haven’t heard George Montague’s music, the chances are it won’t be long before you do... this Festival favourite has a busy summer and is a new breed of music star. If you want to become an overnight success in showbusiness, you have to put in years of hard graft first and no one knows that more than George, who is possibly the hardest-working young singer-songwriter around today. George has become a regular fixture on the festival scene, entertaining crowds with his music and energetic stage presence. His infectious enthusiasm, big band sound and boyish good looks have already won him legions of fans and inevitable comparisons to Jamie Cullum - his effervescent style and ability to work a crowd recently brought him to the attention of the BBC - given George’s reputation and his loyal following, it’s remarkable to think that he’s yet to be signed to a record label.'
Emma Roberts, Cotswold Style 'Singer songwriter and musician, the phenomenally talented George Montague, with over 2 million hits on YouTube and a first album now on general release, I felt it high time to meet George. The 21-year-old star is a real breath of fresh air in today’s often more manufactured musical arena and he has a huge energy, passion and determination for his chosen career path alongside an infectious personality that is both quirky and humble. George exudes a certain star quality and his personality is a huge part of his musical style, the rising star has fans across the world, from London to LA, and it’s easy to see why. He is a musician in the truest sense of the word and a talented one at that. I foresee big things for Mr Montague.'
Scroll to the bottom to listen to radio interviews with George