It Hardly Matters

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Way, Jose

Last night, after being a bitch to my newest friend because she was 30 minutes late to meet me outside the Brooklyn Lyceum, I saw God. I just said that for effect. What I really saw was Jose Gonzalez dressed in monochromatic navy blue perched on a chair in the middle of a spare stage playing the bejesus out of his acoustic guitar. And singing.

He looks like a potential terrorist, or a parking lot attendant, or both. Before he opens his mouth, before you hear it, you might imagine that he is on a watch list somewhere. With his cheap, dusty black shoes, close dark beard, and downward glances like a bashful deer, he is a poster child for unjust subway platform searches conducted by first-year policemen in spanky new uniforms, guns tingling on their hips.

But he's not a terrorist. He's a musician, and he's amazing. Katie and I repeated that word--amazing!--so much that it became meaningless. Fingerpicked notes fell to the ground like crisp leaves on asphalt. When he hit the low E string, it sounded like all of the instruments in an orchestra burst out together, coming in at the exact moment of crisis, lending weight to his spare, wistful songs. His voice was a cross between Medicine Head and Christopher Cross, if Christopher Cross had never sung a pop song and grew up steeped in the Delta blues.

The more he played and sang, the more my bitchiness melted away. Jose had mesmerized me, and everyone, but a guilty panic was threatening to squirm in and ruin everything. I felt guilty for being annoyed earlier--which is annoying. I looked at Katie, legs curled on the floor below where I was sitting at an uncomfortable angle on a partially-hidden guitar amp. She looked up, and smiled. We were still friends. It was amazing.


  • have you listened to the Hold Steady? we just saw their Irving Plaza show (our third time seeing them) and it was rock 'n' roll of the highest caliber. their new album "boys and girls in america" is their best yet-

    By Blogger Claire Deveron, at 12:53 PM  

  • we are still friends. and we have jose to thank for it. thank you, jose gonzalez. you are a peacemaker, and you are hot.

    By Blogger Katie, at 1:09 PM  

  • I totally heart him so much, too!

    By Blogger spillah, at 4:34 PM  

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