Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Train Music

Goodness this blog (when I have actually been able to squeeze out a post) has been veering rapidly past depressing toward being irritatingly whiny. On top of that, you would think I haven’t been listening to any music as of late. Sorry about that. Let’s see if we can’t correct that, eh?

This afternoon finds me on my way home from NYC on the ole Amtrak NE Regional and while I should be doing some work, train trips always make me reflective and in the mood to listen to music as the cities and landscape slide by the window. I tend to have a certain kind of music that I prefer on the train—typically, acoustic and contemplative. Think Nick Drake, Gillian Welch, Bon Iver or Sun Kil Moon—and if you happen to sing about trains often like say,Tom Rush, that is a little bonus.

Well let’s add José Gonzáles to that list. Gonzáles comes to me by way of the magical Pandora on my acoustic station. He officially hails from Sweden, but given that he was born to parents who moved there from Argentina, the Latin-influence sound in his guitar makes a bit more sense. While he like so many played in a variety of bands of various types over time, entering into his music as I did (late) with his first full solo album Veneer, it is hard for me to imagine him as anything but a thoughtful singer-songwriter with wonderful lyrical guitar sense.

This 2003 album is slow and haunting with little more than double-tracked guitar and voice. As is always the case with me, I love the song that seems simple but ultimately warrants revisiting over and over. And I love the spaces in the music which leave you anticipating the fill. And the fill is beautifully quiet classical guitar that brings a certain tension to the songs as the lyrics float across the guitar line.

Here are two that I think really capture the album, particularly the way in which the songs can be so similar in some ways and so unique in others. I will be curious to see what I think of his second album, which I will surely pick up.

Crosses (Buy Album)

Now back to my window.

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