On Feb. 17, folk-rock musician Jose Gonzalez released Vestiges & Claws, his first CD since 2007’s In Our
The time he spent working on Claws has only perfected it. Gonzalez has not drastically changed his
sound, but now he appears to be more confident.
The CD is a collection of 10 songs with different themes but similar melodies. His lyrics are often about
the pitfalls and gains of life, and are easy to relate to.
In addition to recording alone and with the band Junip, Gonzalez has also been featured on several
soundtracks. His memorable song “Stay Alive” was featured on the soundtrack to the 2013 film “The
Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”
Much like “Alive,” several of the songs on Claws stick with González’s recognizable soft vocals and
acoustic guitar. His memorable folk-rock sound has remained mellow with guitar drifts that slowly fade
and then come back on the next song.
This collection of songs is different from what we normally hear. Claws has an original sound that is
The first song from the album is “With the Ink of a Ghost.” After listening to the song, I noticed that it’s
simple. He writes short, easy lyrics that tell a story. Many of the songs on the CD follow the same
pattern of only four to five lines of lyrics, and then guitar strumming.
The vocal melody and guitar rhythm of each song is perfected and delivered by González in a personal
way each time.
After listening to the whole album, the pattern I noticed is that his songs are stories that share the same
message for hope in humanity.
The song “Stories we build, Stories we tell” is the prime example. The lyrics speak with certainty of the
importance of growing and accepting situations.