Josh Rouse Nashville

Josh Rouse Nashville
Songsmith Josh Rouse found major critical favour with albums like Under Cold Blue Stars and Home, and then took a real stylistic detour on his last record, 1972. Gone was the roots-flavoured introspective material, and in was his homage to the American soft rock sound of the early ’70s. Ears old enough to have heard the saccharine likes of Bread and America first time around were not pleased at that shift, but they’ll find more to like in Nashville, his fifth full-length album. Music City USA has been Rouse’s roost for the past decade (he has just moved to Europe), but there aren’t too many overt country sounds here. Pedal steel is used judiciously to flavour some tunes, while there are some lyrical nods to the city. Rouse’s voice remains a lovely instrument, sweet with a touch of sadness, and he has always had a knack for subtly ingratiating melodies. The addition of strings on "Streetlights” and "Sad Eyes” detracts rather than enhances those songs. Rouse is an artist for whom less is more, and gems like "My Love Has Gone” and "Carolina” confirm his worth. (Rykodisc)