Josh Rouse: Country Mouse, City House

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.

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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} Mon 1/28/2008 05:04AM
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George W. Bush II starstarstar Mon 1/28/2008 08:20AM
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George W. Bush II

well then, which one should we start with?

snappy Mon 1/28/2008 08:32AM
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If you like that '70s AM radio vibe then start with 1972. If you want more Americana singer-songwriter stuff go with his debut, Dressed Up Like Nebraska. I dig him, and even when he's not as strong (like this new album) I still think he's one of the better singer-songwriter's going right now.

aquariumdrunk starstarstar Mon 1/28/2008 11:16AM
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Under Cold Blue Stars is definitely my fave and, in my opinion, his most cohesive album to date -- though I love Nashville also. The last couple albums have just been far too bland. Subtitulo was nothing more than pleasant and I can't say anything more for this album.