Like a majority of people, I will go in and out of phases of different genres of music. Whether it’s alternative, classic hits, hip-hop, jazz, you name it. However, one I always find myself hitting the shuffle button on is acoustic music. Especially during the fall months, acoustic music along with the cool weather and falling leaves become one of those classic, unbeatable combinations.
If you have ever explored one of the acoustic playlists that has made its way to your recommended page, there is a good chance that you may have run into a song or two by José González.
The songwriter comes from a diverse background of having Argentinian parents but being born in Sweden while having English as his primary language. Having a vast range of cultures in his life has not only allowed José to cultivate a large following all over the world with a unique musical style while still making a boom in the music industry. In addition to releasing music with his band, Junip, his most notable work includes his cover of the song Heartbeats by The Knife in 2003 which gained international acclaim.
Although several years have passed since his last album, José returned this September with a new project: Local Valley. Which he brings back his signature style of calming fingerpicking guitar and soft lyrics with the new addition of electronic beats.
For a long time, it seemed that González felt little need to evolve his music largely out of enjoyment from what he currently did. Rather than try to set trends in the genre, he created music that both satisfied him and his main audience. There was a feeling of deep dedication and passion mixed into his songs and this album is no different from the rest, despite his new approach to songwriting.
Like his other releases, José is in no rush and takes his time to create an experience that separates himself from his other work while still perfecting his craft.
For longtime listeners, incorporating more than just a guitar and vocals is something unheard of from the songwriter, but through the help of an iPad, José was able to add drums that flow nicely with the tracks. “Lasso In” and “Tjomme” incorporate these simple beats and center more on his guitar and singing but songs like “Swing” or “Lilla G” focus more on the pulsing rhythms to liven up the album.
Despite taking a slightly different approach with Local Valley, González brings back his trademark style that includes aspects of his previous albums. “Head On” is a shining example of the talent that is brought to the table from José. Raw vocals and intricate guitar coalesce into a protest piece that is full of energy and passion. Including songs in other languages such as Swedish or Spanish also make a return in “El Invento” and “En Stund På Jorden” where the album takes a more mellow tone.
The acoustic genre can be described as clear-cut and straightforward and the success of a band or artist is not determined by trying to appeal to a larger audience but rather the creativity and willingness to stay true to oneself's passion. José González continues to demonstrate this idea and provides a little bit of everything for both new listeners and longtime fans with Local Valley. So if you ever find yourself looking for new acoustic music, José González’s new album is a great place to start.