Technically I should have reviewed Jesse Valenzuela a long time ago, as a musician who follows me (even though I followed him first). It never occurred to me to do so because I had not thought of him as a solo artist, only being familiar with his work in the Gin Blossoms and Northey Valenzuela. Then he released a new album.
Hotel Defeated came out in June. There is also another album from 2003, Tunes Young People Will Enjoy. I had some catching up to do.
There are other instruments, including some honky-tonk style piano on "Company", but the focus is on guitar, and gives Valenzuela a chance to show his skill. There are delicate intricacies on the title track, and country twangs on songs like "Tragic Hero" and "Keep Falling". He also gets pretty funky, especially on "That's How It Works".
The songs mentioned are heavily slanted toward the newer album. I do like Songs, but Hotel is that much more impressive, being more mature. It shows you that he hasn't been stagnant for the past twelve years.
It may still be somewhat reasonable to not think of Valenzuela as a solo artist. His Twitter profile links to the main Gin Blossoms page, so really all I have is that and a few places where you can buy the music.
That's all right - I love the Gin Blossoms. However, I'm also glad that this is out, and I can see where Jesse Valenzuela solo could be an excellent show.