Fresh, Friendly Folk – Ross Owen & Georgi James’ Collaborative ‘Trail Mix’ EP

April 22 is Earth Day. Our friend, Ross Owen, and his partner, Georgi James, have soundtracked the quasi-holiday with a release so grounded and so atmospheric that it, in itself, celebrates the power of human connection and humbleness this planet grants us. There is an appropriate earthiness to the soundscapes built – rolling melodies emulate mossy green, grassy knolls and succinct harmonies depict the act of building a bouquet for someone you love. This EP we are telling you about today, all in all, feels wide-eyed, appreciative, and cautiously free-spirited.

We could dive into the handful of songs all on their own, highlighting the sweetest of the intros, outros, and nature-tinged narratives, but instead we will tell you as a whole: Owen and James are rooted in each other, which allows this collaboration to feel honest and equal. Their individual musicianships are intertwined within each other rather than standing starkly on their own, next to each other without rhyme or reason. These songs are not that. Acoustic guitars whisper through the music, laying the groundwork for simple instrumentation and elegant production. It is local artistry and authentic folk tunes at their finest. Only the slightest, warmest hints of pop goodness litter the songs on Trail Mix, not fully making them ear-worms, but surely making them memorable.

Georgi James tells us about the record’s creation: “We try to get out and immerse ourselves in nature as much as we can, regularly traveling up and down the east coast, camping out of our car, and exploring new places together. With most of these songs being born next to a campfire or at the edge of a river somewhere; Trail Mix is, at its core, our love letter to the great outdoors.”

Both artists call the Garden State their home and its impact on their storytelling is evident. A little over a year ago, we reviewed Ross Owen’s album Organic (Sense the theme?) and essentially gave it five stars. “Reminiscent of a young Beck, Ross Owen mixes and blends what he needs to in order to share his visual completely and wholly. Here, he is opening up the flood gates of broaching his twenties during a health crisis with hope in his heart, worry in his brain, and music in his soul,” we wrote.

The young musician still encapsulates this nervousness of what the future holds, but with Georgi James by his side, there is a newfound and understated amount of whimsy – a pep in his step that aligns with the effervescence of James herself as a person and an artist, one may say. Their chemistry oozes and swirls, their stylings a combination of influences and narratives. The Aquarian is honored to be getting to know James (and Owen) more than ever before through the listening to and reviewing of this cozy, flowing, folksy EP – out officially on April 7.

And, in his own words, Ross Owens says that, “Trail Mix is meant to feel down-to-earth, provoking thought towards embracing and indulging in your environment. If this album makes someone go outside and find a place on earth that takes their breath away, I’d be happy.”