José González Shows Us Its Cool to Be Kind

Jose Gonzalez - eTown

I read a very sweet thing the other day. The wonderfully talented comedian, author and musician Steve Martin was quoted as saying one of the many things he loves about his wife, Anne Springfield, is that she’s a genuinely kind person.

Kindness. What a concept.

Jose Gonzalez / Mandolin OrangeThese days, it often feels like kindness is not particularly being promoted as a personal characteristic to be sought after and cultivated, at least in this country. Try driving in rush hour, for example, you’ll get what I mean. Or read the numerous articles about children being bullied on the playground. Its funny, it goes beyond being rude or thoughtless. It’s almost like nowadays its often not considered cool to be kind.

Well, maybe its time to bring kindness back as the ‘way to be.’ To embrace the concept that being kind is cool. I’d love to see a ‘kindness’ movement. You know, where being kind is a priority. Where we show by example and recruit each other to participate (that’s how movements grow right?). Because kindness begets kindness. It spreads like wildfire. And it can be contagious.

You know, someone who embodies kindness is Swedish indie folk artist José González. He and his band join us this week for their very first visit to eTown, and it’s a pleasure to get to know him a bit. I’m struck by his gentle and kind nature. Considering his nearly year-long worldwide tour is completely sold out, Jose is pretty cool (we feel grateful indeed that he’s taken the time to be with us in our little solar-powered hall). Fans respond to his music and his manner, both of which exude kindness. And it’s real: amidst all the pressures of nonstop travelling and the relentless pace of the road, he and everyone in his group remain the sweetest, kindest people. Yup, Jose is a perfect example of ‘being kind is being cool.’

Jose Gonzalez / Mandolin Orange

Also with us is the North Carolina-based duo, Mandolin Orange. These two young talented musical collaborators are reaping great press and earning an ever-increasing number of fans wherever they play (I’m now officially one of them). They’re also very nice – some might even say kind (there’s that theme again). And smart. And funny. Keep an ear and an eye for them, including tuning into (or podcasting) eTown this week.

It’s great music as always, plus an eChievement Award story about a woman keeping office supplies out of the landfill and getting them into the hands of teachers whose students desperately need them but cannot afford them.

As you might imagine, she does this largely out of the kindness of her heart.

– Nick H.