Album Review: Nashville (Josh Rouse)

September 8, 2008

I love good singer-songwriters.  I think they’re fantastic.  However my one common complaint is that the songs often end up dull.  Repetitious.  Boring.  You know, using the same 5 chords and changing the strum pattern.  Or doing the opposite: using the same strum pattern and changing the chords used.  These people rely too much on lyrics and not enough on the music and delivery.  It’s frustrating.  Like Connor Oberst.  He has some great lyrics.  But he can’t sing.  He sounds like a dying goat.  And his compositions rarely vary within an album.


So when I heard about Josh Rouse, I was doubtful.  He was a singer-song writer named Josh.  Do you know how many of them there are?  Josh Radin, Josh Kelly, Joss Stone- whoops.


Anyways, it was with reluctance that I investigated Josh Rouse.  It was with gusto and enthusiasm that I bought his album Nashville and then Country Mouse, City House.  He has beautiful lyrics that are accentuated by a simple, but enjoyable voice.  Most importantly, he doesn’t let the melody underwhelm the lyrics.  There’s more to it than just chords.  There’s a second guitar part often times, layers of his voice, some simple drums.  And it all flows so naturally.

Nashville was a great introduction to him.  It’s very focused on a particular sound (quiet & wintry but somehow upbeat) yet varies within that sound.  It’s The Night Time is probably the best song on the album, it builds very well, but doesn’t overdo it.

Another great song, is the muted Sad Eyes.  

I’d recommend ignoring the video and just listening to the song.  It’s a House fan tribute video, so unless you want a laugh, hit play and walk away.


In short, Nashville is a quiet, happy, and beautiful album worthy of fans of Ryan Adams and Mason Jennings.


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