Swedish troubador and master of the timber and steel, José González, has built a legacy on his uncanny ability to whisk listeners and audiences away to some farflung land of acoustic folk bliss, free from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Though it’s been 6 years since albums from González, in a brand new live performance as part of the Jim Beam: Welcome Sessions, the solemn crooner has shown he isn’t lost this rare skill, unfurling a stunning rendition of new single ‘Valle Local’ throughout the architecture of iconic Berlin venue, The Michelberger that will have you drifting off carelessly into the ether.
Established in 2009, The Michelberger immedately became an intergral part of not just the Berlin live music scene, but an El Dorado of sorts for touring performers all over the world. Setting up shop in the heart of this White Whale live music venue, José González graced a small audience with an intricatly unique performance of the new single, which has been reimagined in a way that sets it apart from the impending album version. By the sounds of things, González was more than happy to put in the effort.
“As a touring musician,” González explains, “The welcome you feel within a space is so important for so many reasons, both in shaping what you do on stage but also the moments in between. From the moment you step through the doors of a venue like The Michelberger, the playful architecture and warm and inviting aesthetic immediately inspires and fuels the creative spirit, especially for musicians entering a building owned, run, and built with the distinct aim of fostering the writing, production and playing of live music. Having spent a great deal of time in The Michelberger, my connection comes from memories wrapped in rich emotions of amazing nights spent in the space.
He adds, “For me, as a live performer, the experience of changing the mood among a group of strangers by taking them to two emotional ends of the spectrum throughout a gig is unlike any other. First, unlocking deep, solemn emotions before uplifting them with the melody while the lyrics energise and elevate them to a different place. You can literally watch as they physically and mentally change in front of your eyes. The music itself creates a sense of unity that is firmly based on the experience of sharing something unrepeatable, special and totally individual with others. “
‘Valle Local’ is the latest single to be unearthed from González’s forthcoming record Local Valley, and has premiered exclusively though the Jim Beam: Welcome Sessions, a platform that has risen to the occasion to remind audiences, long denied the experince of live music on account of the global lockdowns, that live music isn’t just important, it’s crucial, neccessary even, and remains one of the few opportunities to bring humans together after an oh so extended period of being apart.
José González is thr third artist to partake in the Jim Beam: Welcome Sessions, following on from a shimmering performance of Time from UK’s Jack Garrett and a rough-and-tumble rendition of I Was Not Born from Dublin’s favourite post-punk sons, Fontaines D.C.