Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past


+ another review of Home by David Fufkin

In a world where Jewel is considered a poet, where does a talented singer/songwriter like Josh Rouse fit in? From the sounds of his beautiful and wistful new album, Home, Rouse fits in nicely alongside a handful of pop music’s talented yet under appreciated songwriters such as Ron Sexsmith, Ryan Adams (Whiskeytown) and Aimee Mann.

Moving beyond the Americana-flavor of his critically-acclaimed debut Dressed Up Like Nebraska, Rouse spices up Home with horn and string sections, vibes and organ, giving the album a ‘60s British pop/Motown feel. A native of Nebraska, Rouse spent much of his life moving around the country. This explains the sense of restlessness and desolation that lurks below the surface of his songs. The beauty of Rouse’s songs isn’t their memorable melodies (which he has plenty of), it’s the sparseness of his arrangements and the simple honesty of his lyrics. Songs like the infectious “Directions” or the grooving “Marvin Gaye” breath with a sense of soul and emotion that comes from knowing that often it’s the words not spoken or the notes not played that carry the most weight.

Rouse recorded Home in his new home of Nashville, Tennessee where he was joined by an impressive list of musicians, including Cowboy Junkies tour alumnus David Henry, who also engineered R.E.M.‘s Up, on bass and cello, Ned Henry on violin, and Steve Allen on Wurlitzer. Guitarist Will Kimbrough and members of the Nashville collective Lambchop also appear as does noted bass player (Ron Sexsmith, Matthew Sweet) and producer/engineer (Yo La Tengo) Brad Jones.

Tagged as: home | josh rouse
Related Articles
25 Jun 2013
Josh Rouse discusses his latest album, The Happiness Waltz, and the elusive magical moments in music: the balance between family and career, his long-time partnership with producer Brad Jones and what really makes a good song tick.
10 Apr 2013
Rouse has settled in, it seems, and found a way to encapsulate all the dichotomies of life, making them work within the confines of a three-minute pop song.
10 Mar 2010
More postcards from a sunny exile. Far from the blue glow of melancholy, Rouse's music aims for glorious golden moments.
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks

© 1999-2014 All rights reserved.™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.