Alt-Folkies Pete Droge & Jose Gonzalez | Alt Folkies from the Pacific Northwest & Sweden

Pete Droge is an alternative folk-rock musician from Washington state.

Although both Spokane-based Pete Droge and Sweden’s Jose Gonzalez create folk-influenced music, they hail from very different backgrounds.

Pete Droge

Pete Droge lives on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound area of Washington State. An alternative folk-rock musician, Pete has been publishing CDs since 1994. He writes introspective lyrics with delicious melodies, accompanied by his more-than-proficient acoustic guitar and great studio engineering. Currently, he’s part of The Thorns, a three-part harmony group that includes Matthew Sweet and sounds very much like Crosby, Stills & Nash (CS&N). Yet, for my tastes, I recommend his solo work as a place to start to explore his music.

Andy’s Picks for Pete Droge: Far and away, the very best of Pete Droge can be found on his 2006 CD, Under the Waves.   If you purchase the entire CD, you will be happy that you did. My favorite tracks include the Tom Petty-sounding “Give It All Away,” the dreamy instrumental “Trails,” the title track “Under the Waves,” and “A Lot Like You.”

 To sample his earlier work, you can check out 1996 track “Find a Door,” when he performed as Pete Droge and the Sinners. Listen to the live version of “So I Am Over You” found on The Bridge School Collection, Vol. 1 (2006). If you want to try something from his current band, The Thorns, I recommend the track “Dragonfly.” See if you forget for a minute that it isn’t CS&N. 

If you follow these suggestions, I swear some cool evening you will find yourself walking in Iowa wildflowers humming “Under the Waves.” Oh, what a delight!

Jose Gonzalez

Born in Gothenburg, Sweden, of Argentine parents, Jose Gonzalez is known internationally for his Cuban-influenced indie-folk impressionistic music. Many of his songs possess one-word impressionistic names, like Hints, Crosses, Heartbeats, and Suggestions. Jose’s trademark sound comes from his classical guitar riffs and soft melodies. Although most of his work is original, he covers songs such as “Heartbeats,” written by fellow Swedish band The Knife, and “Teardrop” by Massive Attack.   

I first heard Jose at a live concert in Boston while he was touring with UK electronic band Zero 7 for their 2006 CD, The Garden. They performed at the Avalon Club near the Boston Red Sox Stadium.  During his solo first set, Jose was a cool customer, sitting on a chair with an acoustic guitar across his leg. Visually, it reminded me of the first time I saw Cat Stevens as an unknown warm-up act to Steve Winwood’s Traffic in 1970. He delivered quite a soothing experience before the more up-tempo band joined him on stage. Since Jose’s performance at the Avalon, I have been carefully collecting his best work.

Andy’s Picks for Jose Gonzalez: Beyond the tracks mentioned above, I recommend that you find selected tracks from his original CDs and remixes.  From the 2006 CD, Veneer, explore the tracks “All You Deliver” and “Stay in the Shade.” From his 2007 CD, In Our Nature, download the original track “How Low” and then find the remix of the same song with credits to “Pechenga-Nord-noska Mix.”  You will twist with delight to hear how the remix brings new flavors to the surface. Finally, consider the 2006 live track “Storm” on Live Sessions EP. The original is also worth a listen and can be found on his 2007 CD, Stay in the Shade

Wherever you go this summer, these cool tracks will mellow you out . . . no matter how warm the sun gets.

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