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"Drawings in the Dust - A Considered Opinion"

Folksier strains of music escape me in the same way that hip hop often does. Raised as I was in an upper middle class (and mostly white) suburb of a major city, my only contact with wild mountainsides, untamed stretches of country road, and big sky occurred through car windows as my family drove from a to b. Essentially, I am Donny. I am out of my element and I have no frame of reference. In spite of this, George Stathakes debut Drawings In Dust has managed to grab my somewhat philistine attention and retain it throughout multiple listens.

Above all things, this debut is a rough, adventurous record. George’s voice has an untamed quality, one that occasionally bottoms out on its way to hitting something sublime. The singer is not afraid to push himself beyond his comfort zone to explore the broad range of his musical tastes. Similarly, the songwriting seems hell bent on gathering everything into one envelope. In the most successful moments, like on the excellent “Stranger Music” and the album closer “Champagne and Cigarettes”, the blend is uniquely George, mixing the flavors and textures of Waits and Bowie together to create slinky, unnerving anthems tailor made for a night wandering around foggy southern streets. When Stathakes strays from that territory, he sounds like he is overreaching, and tracks like “Judy Collins” wind up taking away far more than they add in terms of variety. Stick to the moody, good sir. That is what makes you special.

Drawings In Dust deserves a huge amount of credit for being as bold as it is. Throughout it’s length, Stathakes takes bits and pieces of roots and folk, and forms them into something unfamiliar and original. As far reaching as a shotgun blast, Stathakes hits the same beats as his most idiosyncratic forebears, but with a joy of discovery that infuses the totality with an energy that overcomes Dust’s uneven moments. A must buy for anybody who craves being the first to know. - SomeAmerican

"Drawings in the Dust"

George Stathakes blends dark folk visions with a Louisiana bite on Drawings in the Dust, while his backing band shoot for the “sweet spot” common in folk songs (ex. Dylan and Cash). A ghostly solo acoustic guitar piece, “Silver Dagger,” kicks things off to a great start, leaving listeners to wonder what could follow such a fragile vignette.

Unfortunately, what comes next is a mediocre sequence of lyrically driven songs that flirt with listeners’’ attention but at heart lack musical game. All punches are pulled until the title track saves the albums flow with its New Orleans-style jazz swagger. From here on, Stathakes’ menacing, cynical style takes full reign while the backing Creole accompaniment adds spice.

At its best, Drawings in the Dust is a well executed folk confessional that pushes its pallet with more experimental sounds. At its word, the lyrics distract as mere clichés and the music rambles like an uninspired Dylan song that refuses to end. Moments of greatness are achieved, but too often Drawings in the Dust borrows mainly from the sound of its influences (listed on his website as Bowie, Waits, and Dylan) while only paying lip services to their underlying concepts and musicality. - Eleven Magazine


Solo Stathakula (May 2009)
Drawings in the Dust (February 2010)

'Silver Dagger' from Drawings in the Dust has received airplay on KDHX 88.1 in St. Louis.
'I Felt the Lightning, Anyway,' 'Silver Dagger,' and 'Where Did They Go?' have received airplay on WWOZ in New Orleans.



If it takes a village to raise a child, George Stathakes must have had some really weird neighbors.

Raised in Gardendale, Alabama, a small conservative suburb of Birmingham, Stathakes was exposed at a young age to a blend of Cat Stevens and traditional Greek music by his mother and weaned on a steady diet of outlaw country singers like George Jones and Johnny Cash by his father. Stathakes has always had unique sensibilities, like his fascination with screen villains or his ability to recite the entire soundtrack of the "Phantom of the Opera" at age four which have combined and manifest themselves into his uniquely styled music.

George, a self-taught guitarist, began to arrange songs on acoustic guitar at age twelve and his sound has matured to meld influences from all ends of the spectrum, whether it be grinding Krautrock, weirdo Folk, or deep-fried Louisiana Zydeco and Jazz. Stathakes' voice is warbled and tread like if Tom Waits visited Crawfish bars and Shamans in New Orleans instead of billiard dives and midgets in Illinois.

His lyrical prowess reflects his biting sarcasm and wit, but there are still hints of something sinister lurking beneath, like the villains he idolized as a child, with the role-playing and theatrics of the Phantom of the Opera.

However, his youth and curiosity still render his present songwriting form a constantly shape-shifting entity, a voracious beast that consumes anything tasty in its path. Be sure to hear him while he's at his hungriest