If you follow a lot of great singer-songwriters and you want to compare a talented acoustic driven singer-songwriter to someone else, more than likely José González is at the top of that list. He is releasing Vestiges & Claws next week so we checked out the album stream over at NPR’s First Listen. Unfortunately, it is not available for stream in Canada, so our US based writers are sharing their thoughts today.
“Every Age” was the first track I heard off this album, and my initial thought was, “This sounds like José at his most organic.” Then I heard the line “Some things change, some remain” and it seemed autobiographical, as though he was reassuring the listener that nothing has changed when it comes to the essence of his music: it is still as poised and soothing as always. If he weren’t a singer/songwriter, he would be an amazing therapist, because his melodies evoke a peaceful calm and his lyrics inspire hopeful optimism. I found it impossible not to smile during every song.
What I didn’t realize is that he recorded the songs in his own home and produced the album himself. This explains why it has such an intimate feel. The mood of the album is mellow from start to finish, much like sunrise on a crisp spring day when nature is waking from its wintry slumber and you feel the first rays of warm sunshine on your face. If that feeling could be expressed in music, it would be called Vestiges & Claws.
Mr. González, thank you so much for sharing your talents with us. Your style is what I often search for in a singer-songwriter, the perfection of simple yet thought provoking, minimal yet complex. Vestiges & Claws is a perfect title for the album, a retrospection of things changing or disappearing altogether and possibly even wanting or clawing for what used to be, or a new way. The harmonies are folk perfected with some songs being a stark reminder of Nick Drake, and others exuding a feeling of Simon & Garfunkel.
I won’t waste any more time sitting her swooning over this very talented Swedish/Argentinian artist. I will just share a few of my favorite tracks and let you know this is a definite thumbs up for me. “Leaf Off/The Cave” was a smart choice for a single as the harmonies are very catchy. As far as songwriting goes, my favorites are “The Forest”, “Let It Carry You”, and “Every Age”.
A short excerpt of lyrics from “Every Age” sums up nicely the theme of the album:
Somethings change, some remain
Some will pass us unnoticed by
What to focus on, to improve upon
In the face of our ancient tribes.
Well done Mr.González, Well done.
Facebook: José González
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