george inai

george inai


A Model T built by Toyota in a factory down in Mexico; or, as Bandguru Mark Bliesener put it, "Marty Robbins meets Flaco Jimenez at Tom Waits' house".


Singer/Songwriter, George Inai, was born at a cultural crossroads. And, if strong cultural heritage is truly a wellspring for great art, then Inai, could not have a deeper pool from which to draw.

As a fourth generation Japanese-American now married to a naturalized Mexican immigrant, Inai's musical inspirations intersect in an unusual place, and blaze a new frontier in Western American music.

Inai’s early musical influences included traditional Japanese music, oddly mixed with a collection of memorable big band swing albums, from which he now draws inspiration. Later, hip hop, jazz, and heavy metal music played havoc with his style.

Inai moved to California with a heavy metal Mexican-American band, while studying music at the Guitar Institute of Technology and the University of Southern California. He spent time playing with an African-American funk/soul band in Oakland before returning to Denver.

The Mariachi trumpet and accordion evoke the ghosts of Mexico, drawing on stories shared by his wife of her childhood spent along the migrant trail, while the steel guitar draws us just north of the border. His musical stories echo these lives, and do not let ghosts lie.

George Inai collaborated with Grammy Award-winning engineer and producer, John Macy, legend of the steel guitar (Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Gladys Knight, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Richie Furay) to meld bluesy, Western sounds together with elements of Americana on his debut CD, This Foolish Music.


lonesome highway

Written By: george inai

Lonesome Highway

Someday my love for you will die

Someday, someday

And someday the stars will find another sky

Someday, someday

And someday I will return…my dear.

Lonesome highway calls to me

Across volcano skies

Lonesome highway follows me

Through the belly of the night

Lonesome highway

Lonesome I’ll be

Until the day I die.

Someday this love will cease to burn

Someday, someday

And someday the seas will rise and claim the earth

Someday, someday

And someday I will return…my dear.

Lonesome highway cold and black

As the barrel of a gun

Lonesome highway take me back

When will my judgement come

Lonesome highway

Lonesome I’ll be

Beneath the midnight sun.

someday I will return…my dear.

chinatown lullaby

Written By: george inai

Chinatown Lullaby

Into the blue I’ve fallen
I knew that you would meet me there.
Let’s dance away the night
On top of the telephone wires
While indigo flowers are in bloom.

And through the gloom you’re calling
This foolish music will lead me there.
And down below
As Chinatown lanterns glow
We’ll wander along the boulevard.

This carnival night
glitters softly like you do.
I give you these lights,
They’re all that I have to offer you.
But everything fades into shadow
Everything fades into the blue.

The moon so cruel and golden,
Into the blue it must return.
We’ll say goodnight
As a city-light lullaby
whispers her lonely melody.

eight-penny nail

Written By: george inai

Eight-Penny Nail

The barest of bone, the coldest of stone
Into the darkness I wander alone
The cupboards are bare, the roof needs repair
The sun sits upon her throne and I on my wooden chair

A shovel will dig, a blossom unfold
Some stories go to the ground never told
A heart that is broken, one weathered and worn
One morning I’ll lie and I’ll wait for the storm

But with this pocketknife
With this old butcher’s scale
With this needle and thread
And this eight-penny nail

Chisel me down and varnish me over
I’m another day saved, but another day closer
A coin that is tossed, one found at your feet
One day you’ll figure it out as you’re walking down the street

So bring my pocketknife
Bring the old butcher’s scale
Bring a needle and thread
And an eight-penny nail


This Foolish Music (2007)
Received airplay on KGNU (Boulder, CO) KRFC (Fort Collins, CO) and KTCL (Denver). Performed live in studio at KCUV (Denver) and KRFC.

Set List

Typical set 10-12 songs (50min-1hr)
Lonesome Highway
I Think of You
Chinatown Lullaby
He Sang Low
Lonely Room
You Will See
Eight-Penny Nail
Serenade to a Satellite
Cover songs:
Kiko and the Lavender Moon (Los Lobos)
I Never Cared For You (Willie Nelson)
Cien Años (Mexican bolero)
Wicked Game (Chris Isaak)