It never hurts to have the right friends in the right places. Inara George takes full advantage of an old family friend on her new album An Invitation, out now on Everloving Records. Lucky for her, and us, the friend she’s collaborated with on this album is Van Dyke Parks, the arranger of the last forty years. Haven’t heard of him? Certainly you’ve heard him. Suffice it to say he arranged songs and wrote lyrics with Brian Wilson for the Beach Boys’ ever elusive Smile album. His work with Ms. George is quite different however. Parks arranged airy, playful compositions for a large orchestra to accompany George’s rich vocal performance. The album is an organic foil to Inara George’s work with her electronic work with Greg Kurstin as The Bird and The Bee. I love the loose, improvised feel to these tracks. It’s as if I’m watching Inara on stage in a musical, a love story, and I’ve suspended every shred of disbelief to the point that I’m sure she’s in love with me. And it takes days to chase her voice out of my head and shake those floaty feelings the have left me giddy.