Josï¿½ Gonzï¿½lez has come to save you from the winter doldrums. His songs of love, love lost, and death, while they don't exactly seem like something to lift your spirits, are sung with such passion and grace that they can warm your soul like a hot cup of cocoa, a cozy blanket and a seat right beside the fireplace. Gonzï¿½lez is the Swedish-born and raised son of Argentinean parents. He plays the guitar like he's had a lifetime of classical training. He sings like an angel and he writes songs with the introspective genius of an ancient prophet. You may know him as the guy that sings the song from the European Sony Bravia commercial we passed around on the Tripwire, or the guy who released one of the most amazing albums of 2005, Veneer. And if you don't, get to know him now.
Gonzï¿½lez's new EP picks up right where his giant of a debut album left off and includes an extended version of the album track "Stay In The Shade", plus two album-worthy b-sides, a Kylie Minogue cover and a newly remastered instrumental track. Each song is a beautiful and unique piece of artistic expression and a look into the heart of a man confronting his demons. His simple compositions are made up primarily of a single, acoustic guitar and vocals. Scattered, downplayed percussion peppers the EP as well, but it almost disappears into music once Jose begins to sing, as all attention is focused upon his distinct voice.
"Down The Hillside", "Sensing Owls" and a closing, six-minute instrumental song are each individually worth the price of admission, but it's "Hand On Your Heart" that is quite possibly the best heartbreak song of all time. Beginning with only the finger-picking of his guitar and the "tap tap" of Josï¿½'s foot keeping time, it then delves into one of the most intimate, sacred and universal emotions known to mankind - love, or more specifically, losing it. "You know it's one thing to say you love me, but another to mean it from the heart / and if you don't intend to see it through, why did we ever start / I want to hear you tell me you don't want my love," he sings in the voice of a man suffering from the ultimate torture. "Put your hand on your heart and tell me it's all over / I won't believe it 'till you put your hand on your heart and tell me that we're through," the song's chorus rings out with such sincerity that it could make even the most disconnected emotional being's eyes well up with tears. It's hard to believe this song was originally made a hit by Kylie Minogue! This is only the first taste of new music from Josï¿½ Gonzï¿½lez in '06 (release date Jan 24), as his sophomore album will also be released later next year. A secret no longer, Josï¿½ Gonzï¿½lez should have a long and fruitful career. I truly can't recommend him, or this EP, enough.