By: Bill Clifford
On his seventh full-length CD Country Mouse, City House (Nettwerk), Josh Rouse continues to draw on the styles of '70s singer-songwriters while adding his own contemporary flourishes. The nine songs here provide a laidback, mellow soundtrack for a late night dinners and Sunday morning brunches touched by soul, subtle strings and shimmering brass.
Opener "Sweetie" begins with two flutes in harmony that lay the melodic foundation, then mellow acoustic strums and weeping slide guitars. Rouse's hushed vocals and lovelorn lyrics further the sultry vibe. Add his "la la la la la" chorus and you'll think you've discovered some long lost Partridge Family gem. The tempo picks up on the addictive "Hollywood Bass Player," where trumpets and harpsichords are the key instruments on this groovy tale of a bass player who couldn't make it in NYC. This song wouldn't be out of place on any of Elton John's early '70s records.
"Nice To Fit In" is a fast paced pop ditty, backed by low-key brass that doesn't overwhelm the vocals, while on "Pilgrim" is driven by rolling bass, hushed vocals and bouncy, soulful keys that impart a funky backbeat and memorable hook. The swirling strings, lush acoustic guitars and Rouse's three part harmonies make "London Bridges" another song that will get stuck in your head.
A blend of Rouse's warm, intimate vocals, mellow soul and '70s pop make Country Mouse, City House fine background music for certain situations. But, if you're not already hip to Rouse's vibe, this may not be the album to start with.
JamBase | Spain
Go See Live Music!