José González is a Swedish indie folk singer-songwriter of Argentine descent.
González was born in Gothenburg, Sweden. His parents moved from Argentina to Sweden in 1978. González grew up listening to Latin folk and pop music, and has named Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez as a favourite artist.
The first band he played in was Back Against the Wall, a Gothenburg hardcore punk band influenced by Black Flag, The Misfits and the Dead Kennedys. He later played bass guitar in another hardcore band, Renascence, between 1993–1998. Between 1997-1998 José played guitar with rock band Only if You Call Me Jonathan.
In 2003, he released his debut album, Veneer, in Europe. The album was subsequently released in the UK on 25 April 2005, and in the United States on 6 September 2005. The album was made while González was studying for a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Gothenburg, which he has not completed due to a lack of time since his musical career has taken off.
His trademark sound is solo classical guitar with soft vocal melody. His work, although mostly original, also includes acoustic covers of such hits as "Heartbeats" by his fellow Swedes The Knife, "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division, "Born in the U.S.A." and "The Ghost of Tom Joad" by Bruce Springsteen, "Hand on Your Heart" by Kylie Minogue, "Smalltown Boy" by Bronski Beat, "Teardrop" by Massive Attack and "Last Snowstorm of the Year" by Low.
His second album, In Our Nature, was released internationally on 22 September 2007. The album's lyrical content was in part influenced by his reading of books like The God Delusion by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and Practical Ethics by ethicist Peter Singer.
Guitars: González plays an Alhambra classical guitar onstage and Alhambra, Esteve, and Córdoba classicals while recording.
Amps: for live performances, a Fishman Prefix Pro Blend in the Alhambra. When performing solo, he also plays into whatever condenser mic the venue supplies.
Strings: La Bella polished nylon, high tension.
Capo: Shubb C5 partial.
Picks: González plays only with his fingernails, reinforced with a nail strengthener.
González consistently uses 'altered' guitar tunings in his tunes, de-tuning the 6th (E) string down to D for all his songs, with the 3rd (G) string altered between F#, G and A from tune to tune (e.g. A in his cover of Hand on Your Heart and F# in Heartbeats.) He does the retuning himself during live performances rather than using three different guitars on stage.