“Vestiges & Claws” – José González

José González

“Vestiges & Claws”


José González is an Argentinian singer / songwriter born and raised in Sweden. Since his first solo release in 2005, he’s been touring the world exhibiting his unique style. After recording the last two albums with his band Junip, José has returned to his solo career with a beautiful new album. His style is simple but beautiful. Singing quietly with his classical guitar, he composes songs that have a natural ebb and flow that feels like part of nature itself.

His recently released album “Vestiges & Claws” continues in that tradition. It is full of peaceful, thoughtful songs penned with philosophical verses and played with care. His subtleties all add up synergistically to create a sound that is beautiful, catchy, and seamless. It’s hard to decide what is more soothing, his guitar playing or his voice.

Many of these songs carry a strong rhythm despite the sparse percussion. He keeps a steady pace with his playing, thumping out droning bass notes with his thumb while playing lead lines and chords with his other fingers. It takes a lot of talent to create such a full sound with only a guitar and the occasional castanet joining in the rhythm.

His lyrics are poetic in nature. He covers a wide range of topical material with his writing, from songs about love and life to commentary about politics and the state of the world. I get the impression that he is a very thoughtful, intelligent person. His words dance across the music like dragonflies skimming the surface of the pond, touching the water gently and leaving few ripples.

José made a conscious decision to record “Vestiges & Claws” without a producer. He wanted to retain all the artistic control, and was intent on recording the album exactly as he thought it should be, rather than taking input from the traditional production school of thought. The result is rich. In my opinion, it is the best of his solo work and stands strongly next to his last self-titled album with Junip, which received excellent reviews when it debuted a couple of years ago.

He’s coming to the area in early April, playing Brooklyn, New York City, and Boston between April 8th and 11th. If you like thoughtful, inspired, artful music then you will probably love José González’s work. He’s doing something that I just don’t see much of these days with the classical guitar, and his love for the art of making music shines through in every song.

Tom Matthew, Two Ton Music