Thursday, March 23, 2006

José González, 3.22.06 Joe's Pub (9:30 show)

by Charlotte Deaver

After walking out on stage as unobtrusively as possible, tuning his guitar for a bit, Jose Gonzalez shuts his eyes as the notes he has adjusted begin to take on a steady beat, then a recognizable melody, "Deadweight On Velveteen" (I think). Already, he seems as mesmerized as we are. Delicate, full, softly-colored sounds waft in and out of his mouth almost indiscernibly, and the richness of his classical guitar ground the deeper tonalities of his music.

Jose Gonzalez exudes both a hushed restraint and extreme expressivity, which partly describes the beauty of a song like "Crosses," or his interpretation of "Heartbeats." Equally important, though, is the confluence of musical styles, including, notably, flamenco, multiple alternate tunings of the guitars, traditional folk finger-picking, and a hyper-sensitivity for melody and popular song structures. All of this, among other influences, is played out with a deliberate emphasis on solitude and inwardness. He's shy, but present. Private, but giving.

We were all, I believe, taken in from the first moment, but by the fourth song, the gorgeous "Sensing Owls," I was a goner: rapt, utterly tuned in, and excited in that inarticulate, slightly gurgly sort of way (think pre-verbal, happy, cooing baby), and my friend was in pretty much the same shape.

I don't think I would want to see Jose Gonzalez perform in a setting that did not allow for the kind of intimacy his music generates. Since his recent record label signing, although I can't say how he will tour in the future, I predict he will be "marketed" heavily. He may be ready for his close up, but we had ours last night. Lucky us.


Blogger euskir said...

I wasn't familiar with José González music. Sounds good, with a nice mix of styles behind, perhaps a heavy Joao Gilberto influences in the background of his mind.
Anyway, thanks for the tip.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Charlotte Deaver said...

And I thought he was Spanish and Swedish. But he's not, my dear. He is, of course, Argentinian (and Swedish). Yes, Joao, and maybe moments of Caetano Veloso? xo

12:21 PM  
Blogger euskir said...

Some people left Argentina for Sweden after the 1976's military coup. One of the best musical directors for a jazz orchestra back then, in Sweden, was the argentinian trumpet player Gustavo Bergalli. These days Gustavo is going to play with Joe Lovano, here in Argentina.
I like more the "old" Caetano, there's a larger than life record called: "Juntos e ao vivo: Chico Buarque & Caetano Veloso".
But all brazilians singers, and beyond, are sons and daughters from Joao.

10:24 PM  
Anonymous freshbread said...

Thanks for checking out my blog, Charlotte. I'm sooo jealous you saw "Sensing Owls". I love that song...ryan

12:02 PM  
Blogger Charlotte Deaver said...

of course I check out your blog! I have your site listed on my rss feeder. will happily comment more often, tho, so you know I've *really* been there. cheers!

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm I love the idea behind this website, very unique.

11:39 PM  

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