HOME (Slow River/Rykodisc) Josh Rouse
Like a lot of subtle and superior discs, this took me a couple of spins to really get it. It's really smooth, atmospheric pop music. The lyrics are not very linear, so you can't hang on to them in a storyline kind of way. The words are evocative, they're meaningful, but many are open to interpretation. They're dreamy, like the music is. So much so, that I literally fell asleep once while listening to this record. To me, this is a very valuable and rare thing in a pop release.
A lot of people are looking for what's commonly called "edge" in their music selections. Personally, I find that life itself provides plenty of edge. I'm usually looking for some smooth, and I found it here. There are some great hooks, there are radio songs that got a lot of solid airplay. Josh Rouse definitely made a name for himself with this CD that came out last year, and did a lot of national touring behind it. He's getting a new one ready now, so we hope to have an interview with him in an upcoming issue, late summer or fall.
Home is co-produced by the artist and respected cellist/bassist David Henry. It's a brilliant mood, and I love how the only soloing voices were soft brass playing simple strong melodies. They also enlisted the genius of producer Brad Jones on the radio song "Directions." The solid tasty drums of David Gehrke seemed to be at the heart of every track in such a way that it brought the ambience of the record together in one consistent piece. Jason Moon Wilkins contributed tracks of understated beauty on the bass, as did the producer himself on a few numbers, and the memorable Sharon Gilchrist. Will Kimbrough, one of Nashville's finest pop guitarists, really shines on this record. He's famous for the right part with the right tone at the right time, and the lush, dreamy atmosphere has a lot to do with his musical presence.
Josh Rouse is gonna be around. His songs are unique and intelligent, his voice pleasing and true. This record brilliantly straddles the line between college airplay and pop for grownups. Check it out. FG