Co-founder, George Joseph Stevens, born in Sacramento, California on December 16th, 1978, is the band’s frontman, lead guitarist, lead bouzouki player, and one of the most prominent songwriters of the group. He began playing accordion at the age of eight, after his father, John Stevens, an accomplished accordionist in his own right, purchased two accordions for him and his brother Paul. Stevens transitioned to the mandolin at the age of twelve, after his grandfather, Vine Stevens, who himself was a professional mandolinist, passed-away in 1991. Soon after Vine’s passing, Stevens formed a tribute band called Vine’s Boys along with his brother Paul and cousin Donny Stevens, which was dedicated to their grandfather Vine. Vine Stevens performed under the same name (Vine Boys) with George’s father, John Stevens, and his uncle, Dewey Stevens.
Stevens’ influences were primarily traditional Gypsy and Serbian music during this period. In Stevens’ late teen years, he discovered the group, The Gipsy Kings, and was deeply inspired by their Latin and Mediterranean-mixed sound. In 2002, Stevens formed a group with his brother, Paul Stevens, called, The Gypsy Boys, and it quickly became a staple in the Los Angeles club circuit, performing consistently for several years at various clubs and private events.
When asked about his inspiration for becoming a musician, Stevens recalls an early memory, “When I started playing music, the only person I wanted to impress was my father. Once I learned a song, I would play it for him, and once I saw a smile on his face, that was all the encouragement I needed. From around the age of fourteen to seventeen, he would direct me and help me craft my musicianship and showmanship.”
Stevens is a proficient songwriter as well, having written several of the songs on The Rumba King’s debut double-disc album titled, The Instrumental & Vocal Sessions, Vol I, as well as the majority of the songs on the group’s sophomore release titled, The Instrumental Sessions, Vol II. “I get my inspiration to write music in a myriad of ways. Often times I can just sit with my guitar and a melody will pop out, and I would build a song from it. Other times, the melodies come to me when I’m about to fall asleep, similar to a trance-like state. I also remember when my dad used to play accordion freestyle. Some of those melodies stood out to me and would be inspire me to write something with a similar feel,” says Stevens. In one of the band's podcasts titled, A Conversation and a Scotch, Episode 1, host Dubai Denis asks Stevens about the music the band writes, and Stevens responded, "If it isn't beautiful, it doesn't make the cut."
George Steven's credits on Allmusic guide