José Gonzalez, a Swedish singer-songwriter of Argentine heritage, has gained a following with his gentle singing and soft classical guitar plucking on the solo records Veneer (2005) and In Our Nature (2007). But Gonzalez was actually in a band before he made those records — Junip.
And now he’s back playing with his old bandmates from the 1990s (Tobias Winterkorn and Elias Araya) in Junip once again. Junip doesn’t yet have a proper album to call its own, but the group is giving away free copies of its EP, Rope and Summit, and touring America, including a stop Sunday (June 13) at Lincoln Hall in Chicago.
The sound of Junip is not radically different from those José Gonzalez solo records. Junip is dominated by his mellow sound, a blend of Latin American folk and Nick Drake. The other musicians in Junip flesh out the arrangements, but in subtle ways. The touring lineup includes regular drums as well as congas, plus guitar and synth. As during his solo shows, Gonzalez played sitting down, closing his eyes much of the time as she sang in a breathy tone.
The show, which also featured an opening set by Chicago band Sonoi, was far from being sold out — maybe because people didn’t realize this was a band starring Gonzalez? When the Junip album comes out later this year, I expect the band’s following will increase.