Visionary singer-songwriter-guitarist José González has announced the release of his eagerly awaited fourth solo studio album. Local Valley will arrive via Mute on September 17, 2021. González’s first new studio recording in more than five years will be available via both black and colored vinyl, CD, and digital platforms. Loca Valley is preceded by today’s premiere of the album’s first single, “Visions,” available now at all DSPs and streaming services. Album pre-orders are available now. All pre-orders will include registration for upcoming tour dates currently planned for later this year. Fans around the world can see González perform later this month, however, as it was recently announced that he will participate in National Geographic’s Earth Day celebration taking place on April 21.
“We are the apes that are starting to understand the universe and our place in it,” says González. “We are changing our surroundings in an exceedingly rapid pace, so much that we’re becoming stewards of our planet whether we like it or not. As Stewart Brand said, ‘We are as gods and we have to get good at it.’ The lyrics came to me in early February 2020 just as there were more and more tweets about the possible pandemic. The topic of the song felt very timely. You can hear the birds and ambient sounds from the veranda, along with a layer of synth loops in the background.”
Recorded at Studio Koltrast Hakefjorden, which González set up in his family’s summer house north of Gothenburg, LOCAL VALLEY “is similar to my other solo albums in sound and spirit,” he says, “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.”
On Local Valley – which follows the 2015 release of González’s acclaimed VESTIGES & CLAWS – he sings in three languages (English, Spanish and Swedish) and it provides a welcome reminder of the Gothenburg, Sweden-based artist’s understated appeal and singular ability to communicate discreetly. These 13 thought-provoking, meticulously crafted songs sound as characteristically confident and rich in compelling detail as anything in his prior canon. Much like renowned physicist Brian Cox, whose Human Universe afforded a key source of insight, Gonzalez addresses substantial affairs in an accessible manner suited to his music’s apparently ingenuous nature. Indeed, the artist is well placed to delve into complex themes: when not making music or taking care of his daughter, he’s busy investigating topics like effective altruism, secular humanism, and eco-modernism.
“Many of these songs have a crystal-clear, secular humanist agenda: anti-dogma, pro-reason,” González says. “There’s no political agenda, though, at least not in a classical left-right spectrum. Maybe in a globalist-secular vs. theocratic-nationalist way: the focus is on underlying worldviews, and on our existential questions as smart apes on a quest to understand ourselves and our place in the cosmos.”
Photo Credit: Peter Toggeth / Mikel Cee Karlsson