Clay George Clay George

Vancouver's Clay George says he's not entirely comfortable with the "folk music" tag, yet accepts that it's inevitable when you play acoustic guitar and harmonica. No matter - his debut album is so good that genre nitpicking is totally unnecessary. George plays it fairly traditional, allowing his strong voice and way with a melody to win you over, although he's no slouch as a guitar player and his harmonica playing is far better than the standard unimaginative wheezing we've come to expect from solo folk singers. He has a knack for storytelling, and a recurring angel motif that could earn him a ticket into a new Wim Wenders movie. The only odd choice is an electric rock version of "Stephane Ganis," which sticks out of this otherwise straight-up acoustic affair; the acoustic version that closes the album is more affecting. The kicker is "Old Upright Piano," the kind of melancholic heart-tugger that would fit right into Closing Time. Best accompanied by fine red wine. (Pacific)