George Joseph Stevens, the co-founder of the band, is an exceptionally talented musician known for his dynamic role as the frontman, lead guitarist, lead bouzouki player, and prolific songwriter. Born in Sacramento, California on December 16th, 1978, Stevens has been deeply connected to music since a young age.
At the age of eight, Stevens's father, Joe Stevens, an accomplished accordionist, gifted him and his brother Paul with accordions, sparking George's passion for music. However, it was at the age of twelve, after the passing of his grandfather, Vine Stevens, a professional mandolinist, that George transitioned to the mandolin. In honor of his late grandfather, George, along with his brother Paul and cousin Donny Stevens, formed a tribute band called Vine's Boys. This heartfelt endeavor paid homage to their grandfather's legacy, as Vine Stevens had previously performed under the same name with George's father, Joe Stevens, and his uncle, Dewey Stevens.
Throughout his teenage years, George's musical influences primarily revolved around traditional Gypsy and Serbian music. However, he experienced a profound shift in his late teens when he discovered The Gipsy Kings, whose Latin and Mediterranean-infused sound deeply inspired him. In 2002, George formed The Gypsy Boys alongside his brother Paul, and the band quickly established a strong presence in the vibrant Los Angeles club circuit. The Gypsy Boys became a beloved fixture, regularly performing at various clubs and private events.
Reflecting on his musical journey, George fondly recalls a formative 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."
George's creative talents extend to songwriting as well. He has written numerous songs for The Rumba Kings, including several tracks on their debut double-disc album, "The Instrumental & Vocal Sessions, Vol I," and the majority of songs on their sophomore release, "The Instrumental Sessions, Vol II." When it comes to his songwriting process, George finds inspiration in various ways. Sometimes melodies come to him effortlessly while playing his guitar, and other times they emerge during those twilight moments when sleep beckons, akin to a trance-like state. Additionally, George draws inspiration from his father's freestyle accordion playing, as certain melodies stood out and influenced him to compose pieces with a similar feel. In an enlightening podcast episode titled "A Conversation and a Scotch, Episode 1," hosted by Dubai Denis, George shares the band's perspective on their music, stating, "If it isn't beautiful, it doesn't make the cut."
George Joseph Stevens is a remarkable musician whose talents as a frontman, guitarist, bouzouki player, and songwriter have played an integral role in The Rumba Kings' success. His deep-rooted connection to music, coupled with his dedication to crafting beautiful compositions, continues to captivate audiences worldwide.
George Steven's credits on Allmusic guide