Josh Rouse


by David Sakowski


+ 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.

Topics: home | josh rouse

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.


//Mixed media

Saul Williams Commands Attention at Summerstage (Photos + Video)

// Notes from the Road

"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.

READ the article