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Texas Troubadour George Ensle's Be a Better Me Released on PuffBunny Records
Be a Better Me, the new album by veteran Texas songwriter-performer George Ensle, was released September 24 on PuffBunny Records, a Fredericksburg, TX-based indie label.
"There is something in the water" is a phrase used for certain areas of America where musical talent appears to spring up from the earth. This is certainly true of the storied Houston, Texas area's music scene of the 1960s and '70s. It's the land where George Ensle came up and polished his songs and craft along with the likes of Carolyn Hester, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Nanci Griffith and Billy Joe Shaver among others. [Visit the Houston Folk Music Archive at https://digitalprojects.rice.edu/houston-folk-music-archive/ to view the George Ensle Exhibit and learn more about Houston's deep music history.]
"George Ensle is the real deal," asserts Rich Warren, retired long-time host of The Midnight Special, a venerable nationally syndicated folk music and variety program that emanates from Chicago's WFMT. "They say 'write about what you know,' and Ensle has been taking that to heart for over 50 years. He has an ability with a song like a leather artisan carving, crafting and coloring to create something beautiful, flexible and strong enough to stand the test of time."
A well-respected, down-to-earth troubadour in the best Texas tradition, Ensle began taking guitar lessons in Houston at an early age. He moved to Austin for college, played a few now-famed Houston folk venues during the summers and toured the college circuit with Nanci Griffith. Along the way -- besides teaching, writing award-winning songs and hosting weekly Songwriter Showcases -- Ensle has released 15 albums. In 2017, Taylor Pie, head of A&R for PuffBunny Records and a founding member of the chart-topping trio The Pozo Seco Singers, invited him to participate in her unique live-recorded Songswarm project. This resulted in two of Ensle's songs being included on the indie label's Songswarm Vol. 1 album. That album received widespread airplay and was among the Top 50 albums on the monthly folk radio charts compiled by Folk Alliance International in March 2017.
Be a Better Me (PuffBunny Records PB0721) is a warm and heartfelt album of 11 songs presenting the very best of Ensle's songwriting, singing and playing. He delivers his story songs with intricate fingerpicking style on six-string, Resonator or 12-string guitars, and recently added piano to the mix.
Stephen Doster of Austin, TX, who was inducted into the Texas Music Legends Hall of Fame in 2016 by the Texas Songwriters Association, produced the album. Together, he and Ensle have crafted a true Texas folk music album that includes writing collaborations with the late folk icon Blaze Foley, ("Blue Love"), Chuck Hawthorne ("The Unknown Soldier") and Tony Ramey ("Gone Fishin' "). The recording was cut 'live' with the core players - including George Strait's veteran bassist Terry Hale and Austin A-list players Greg Whitfield and Greg Lowry. The theme of the sessions was warmth and grit. Taylor Pie asked Ensle and Doster to give the recordings as authentic and live a feel as possible -- no drums, all acoustic, and no reverb - just a seasoned songwriter at the top of his game plying his craft and telling his story.
Ensle is part of the Texas Commission on the Arts' Texas Touring Roster and an ambassador for Soldiers Songs and Voices, a program that provides free music lessons and songwriting workshops to veterans as a form of post-conflict care. A strong believer in the healing power of music, Ensle has instilled his belief into each and every song on Be a Better Me.
PuffBunny Records (www.puffbunnyrecords.com) aims to capture one-of-a-kind performances in time -- either from live onstage performances in front of an audience or in a studio environment -- to preserve and make them available to the public. Entrepreneur Kathy Harrison owns the label.