The Smooth Sounds of Josh Rouse

Fans of under the radar American singer-songwriter Josh Rouse couldn't ask for much more than the material included on this deluxe DVD set. The main attraction here is a live concert film of a show Rouse performed in his hometown of Nashville on New Year's Eve in 2003. On stage Rouse proves himself to be an endearing singer-songwriter whose Canadian reference points might include Nathan Lawr and Danny Michel, with the edges purposefully smoothed out. Backed by a crack band, Rouse treats the audience to a few crowd-pleasers from past albums but confidently focuses his set on songs from 1972, the critically-acclaimed album he was tirelessly involved in touring behind. This film is bolstered by an hour-long documentary directed by Matt Boyd and entitled The Many Moods of Josh Rouse. Though focusing on the genesis and production of 1972, Boyd's film offers multiple perspectives on Rouse as an artist from colleagues and friends, including Lambchop's Kurt Wagner, who sings the praises of 1972, suggesting that it is Rouse's most remarkable accomplishment as a musician. As if all of this wasn't enough to satiate fans, Rouse has thrown in a bonus rarities CD. Included among some rare compositions by Rouse is a cover of the Kinks' "A Well Respected Man," which may be an apt title to describe Rouse himself. The critics' darling will surely further endear his songs to his cult fan base after word spreads about this comprehensive DVD package. Plus: Discography. (Rykodisc)