Image of George Usher
George Usher

Art-pop singer/songwriter George Usher was born in Cleveland where his early demo recordings gained local airplay while he was still in his teens. He had already cut enough demo material to fill out a good 30 albums before he relocated to New York in 1977, soon forming the power-pop band the Decoys.

By the middle of the following decade, Usher was a member of the cowpunk outfit Beat Rodeo, appearing on their 1986 LP Home In The Heart Of The Beat (IRS). A satellite member of the Bongos during the late 1980’s, he fronted his own band House Of Usher, issuing the LP Neptune (Lonesome Whippoorwill). He also teamed with fellow Beat Rodeo alum Steve Almaas in the Gornack Bros. for the acoustic Refund (Strikeback/UK).

Described by the Village Voice as “one of New York’s best pop craftsmen,” Usher collaborated on songs over the next few years with a variety of New York area performers, including ex-Bongo Richard Barone (River To River, Clouds Over Eden), Kate Jacobs and Health And Happiness Show‘s James Mastro. During this time, he released Ludlow (Lonesome Whippoorwill), a psychedelic-folk recording with his House Of Usher musicians billed as George Usher’s Lazy Gentlemen.

Subsequently joining the Schramms for two albums, Little Apocalypse (Blue Rose) and Dizzy Spell (Blue Rose), Usher made his long awaited solo debut in 1996. Miracle School (Blue Rose) was hailed by Tower/Pulse Magazine as “exquisitely crafted art-pop, which boasts a lyrical sensitivity and melodic sophistication ****.” Alternative Press called it “marvelous folk-pop with a view of Penny Lane.” The follow-up, Dutch April (Parasol) was declared by England’s Bucket Full Of Brains to be “Byrdsian jangle pop with wonderful arrangements and thoughtful lyrics.” Tower/Pulse also applauded its “evocatively poetic lyrics,” as well as its “heart-tuggingly haunting melodies.”

Combining influences ranging from the Beatles and Neil Young to the Zombies and Brian Wilson, Usher and his band, the George Usher Group continued to dazzle. 2000’s Days Of Plenty (Parasol), mixed by Mitch Easter, was described by Amplifier Magazine as an “astonishing pop document.” Popmatters.com declared, “Usher’s pop expertise comes to the fore and all of the tracks are strong.”

Having composed the title track for Laura Cantrell‘s acclaimed alt-country record Not The Tremblin’ Kind (Spit And Polish/UK, Diesel Only/US), Usher took some time off from performing.

In 2003, he returned with “Fire Garden“ (Parasol), fifteen amazing new tracks cut with his Group, mixed by Mitch Easter and featuring his unique, lyrical, melodic sound. Uncut regarded it to be “as close as one can get to a textbook definition of ‘power-pop’”, while No Depression was impressed by “Usher’s euphoniously arty popcraft.”

Maintaining his momentum, Usher co-wrote all the songs on New York pop impresario edward rogers’ debut CD, Sunday Fables (Not Lame), released in January 2004. Described as being “loaded with Rickenbacker-drenched pop goodies” (Yeah Yeah Yeah) “Byrdsy pop with lilting, folky melodies and some gorgeous chamber-pop leanings,” (Amplifier), it helped establish Rogers as a creative force.

Usher spent the next few years co-writing and co-producing Edward Rogers’ second solo cd, You Haven’t Been Where I’ve Been (Zip). Released in early 2008, it garnered even more ecstatic reviews than Sunday Fables. This cd. “is smart pop with a sense of both style and history, and it’s bold, well-crafted stuff.” (All Music Guide) And Uncut Magazine claimed, “there’s a melancholy in its bloodstream that surges forth on the affecting ballads, their sense of mortality as arresting as their time-honoured chord sequences. (Uncut ***)

While working on You Haven’t Been Where I’ve Been, Usher also wrote and produced his first solo recording in over ten years. Yours And Not Yours was released by Parasol Records in Sept., 2009. Utilizing a more acoustic, folk-rock sound, highlighted by strings, brass and pedal steel guitars, Usher covered a lot of his usual “melodic pop” ground. All 12 of the album’s songs are lyrically-rooted in the dynamics of romantic relationships, creating a song cycle that stays with the listener long after playing.

Usher was diagnosed with Cancer in 2010. Because of chemo treatments, he wasn’t able to use his hands or play instruments for over two years. During that time, he composed 12 lyrics full of reflection and reverie that Lisa Burns has put to music. The result is a new song-cycle, The Last Day Of Winter.

Still recovering, Usher has slowly returned to performing, alongside Burns. They have recorded the entire Last Day Of Winter song cycle for release. In September 2014, a video for one of the songs, More Than That I Cannot Say was made available for viewing at www.thelastdayofwinteralbum.com. George Usher and Lisa Burns released The Last Day Of Winter on cd and all over the internet in early 2015.

The reviews for The Last Day Of Winter have all been ecstatic!. Go to George and Lisa’s website: www.thelastdayofwinteralbum.com to see the video, live show photos and all the enthusiastic press!

George and Lisa will be performing brand new songs in New York City this summer, as they make plans to record their second album together.

And the long-awaited George Usher 2 cd compilation, The End And The Beginning: 1990-2009 will be issued for Christmas.