If you blinked last year, you might have missed Jose Gonzalez's stateside debut, "Veneer."
If you blinked last year, you might have missed Jose Gonzalez's stateside debut, "Veneer." The Swedish-by way of-Argentina folk singer has drawn modest comparisons to luminary folk singer-songwriters, most notably Nick Drake and Elliott Smith. The accolades were enough to earn him a multi-album deal with Mute Records, but this five-song EP is a brief, but pleasant afterthought of where he took us with "Veneer."
The stripped-down acoustic guitar meets soft percussion formula is the same, but Gonazlez's voice is as warm as the guitar strumming is simple. A take on Kylie Minogue's "Hand on Your Heart" turns the club staple into an actual love song, while the closing instrumental is a beautiful, soft crescendo piece with an alto horn compliment. Recommended for fans of quiet, folk traditions. -- Michael D. Ayers