José Contreras is the eponymous first solo album from the longtime By Divine Right mastermind. Documenting a distinct conceptual and physical shift in the artist’s approach to songwriting and the recording process, the record is his most intimate and spiritual to date, a singular set of songs filled with questions, incantations and declarations. While recording By Divine Right’s critically acclaimed Organized Accidents in 2013, José was fatefully reunited with producer and past collaborator Lee Maslin. For years, Lee had wondered why José hadn’t recorded a solo album and when he posed the question José simply replied that no one had ever asked him to. The pair subsequently retreated to José’s Chicano Power studio in rural Caledon, Ontario for a day and a half of intensive recording. Without the support and constraints of a rock band, the duo approached the recording directly with an emphasis on capturing José’s voice and the natural atmospherics of the room and the surrounding environment. The resultant record is full of nocturnal warmth and a welcoming vulnerability that comforts with quiet confidence. The sparse arrangements of these old and new songs echo their isolated, almost secretive, nature, producing an album of solitary hymns lightly circled with improvisation. No stranger to evolution, José Miguel Contreras has been the sole sun of By Divine Right around which an impressive list of over 30 musicians has orbited for over 25 years. Producing nine albums and countless tours, his commitment to collaboration, process and experimentation has created a legacy of inspiration in the Canadian music community that continues to grow every year.