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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

José González, S&R's Songwriter

Singer-songwriter José González, who's first album Veneer sold more than 700,000 copies worldwide, has taken his most recent album, In Our Nature, on tour, playing a number of U.S. dates this month. Turns out González, who was born in Sweden to Argentine parents, is a former doctoral candidate in biochemistry at the University of Gothenburg, and it shows; there aren't many indie folk singers who point their fans to essays on morality by Steven Pinker. So inspired was González by Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion that the book influences a number of his newest songs. “Abram,” for example, refers to the biblical story of Abraham, who nearly sacrificed his own son to God. It "questions the blind faith to these Scriptures and trying to say that in a joking way—not to be too harsh," González told San Diego CityBeat. A self-described atheist, González says that as a scientist he was trained "to see the difference between an explanation that’s sufficient and one that really isn’t sufficient. Rationality is the way I think.” Yet, he adds, “I really enjoy the big questions, the ones that have to do with ethics or free will that are more difficult to address with scientific methods and are mostly discussed within philosophy or religion." —Heather Wax