Festival International de Jazz de Montréal presents

José González – Local Valley

Opening act: Anjimile

Hailed by Rolling Stone as “someone whose subtle, carefully crafted music delivers rewards to listeners who know how to wait,” González’s stellar career can only be described as a dream. Whether appearing alone with his guitar or with a 20-piece orchestra, the visionary singer-songwriter’s performances are never merely shows – they are events. And González has every intention of continuing this tradition as he prepares his fully solo tour in support of the release of his fourth studio album, Local Valley.

It’s easy to overlook the fact that, despite only three solo albums in 18 years, José González has packed distinguished venues from Sydney to Tallinn – via Berlin, Barcelona and Rio De Janeiro – and even sold out London’s prestigious, 4000+ capacity Royal Albert Hall a full three years after his last acclaimed collection, 2015’s Vestiges & Claws. He’s earned platinum records in the UK and his Swedish homeland as well gold in Australia and New Zealand. He’s also got some billion streams under his belt, and recent bewildering events have only endeared him further to the public, with his songs providing a consistent source of comfort over the last 24 months, something reflected by a significant rise in those streaming figures. Of course, such matters aren’t things of which José himself will remind you: since he first arrived with debut single ‘Crosses’ back in 2003, both he and his music have remained dependably quiet and unassuming. To underestimate him on account of his modest nature, however, would certainly be regrettable.

José’s long-awaited fourth album, Local Valley, provides a welcome reminder of his understated appeal and his singular ability to communicate discreetly, a quality illustrated by the uncommonly effective use of his music during The Last Dance, Netflix’s recent documentary about Michael Jordan. Local Valley also for the first time utilises all three languages José speaks, allowing for greater depth and connection to his lineage. Beginning with the sun-dappled ‘El Invento’, the first song he’s recorded in Spanish (the native tongue of his Argentinian heritage), and ending with the intimate yet rhapsodic ‘Honey Honey’, it engages in his signature melodic and metrical hypnotism on ‘Head On’ and ‘Tjomme’ and showcases his impressive fingerpicking skills on ‘Valle Local’, while there’s evidence of his love for music from around the world in ‘Swing’, among other tracks.

It’s also full of his trademark, bittersweet pastoralism, including ‘Visions’ and ‘Horizons – which, alongside ‘El Invento’, José González considers “my most accomplished songs to date” – not to mention ‘The Void’, ‘Lasso In’, and of course ‘Line Of Fire’, which continues his tradition of reinterpreting songs, though on this occasion he picks one written for Junip, the band he formed with friends in 1998, which, after two albums, he continues to maintain with co-founder Tobias Winterkorn. That the original version has now been streamed some 60 million times suggests it, like other songs he’s covered, is now part of the songwriting canon.

Local Valley, José cheerfully acknowledges, “is similar to my other solo albums in sound and spirit, a natural continuation of the styles I’ve been adding through the years both solo and with Junip. I set out to write songs in the same vein as my old ones: short, melodic and rhythmical, a mixture of classic folk singer songwriting and songs with influences from Latin America and Africa. It’s more outward looking than my earlier works, but no less personal. On the contrary, I feel more comfortable than ever saying that this album reflects me and my thoughts right now.”

Théâtre Maisonneuve
Friday, September 2, 2022 at 8:00pm

To purchase your tickets visit: www.placedesarts.com