Album Reviews: Nashville by Josh RouseNashville is less country than the title suggests. Although Josh Rouse has always had some country flavor in his music, his greatest influences lie somewhere between '70s singer/songwriters and '80s Britpop (The Smiths and The Cure most notably). His affection for '70s AM radio pop was brilliantly explored on his last release, 1972. But that '70s influence is still wonderfully apparent on Nashville. Rouse writes songs that would fit very nicely on Carole King’s Tapestry. His songs are instant classics that make you wonder where they’ve been your whole life.
The opening track, "It’s the Nighttime," is one of those new gems you’d swear you’ve lived with for years. As with his prior releases, his fans will pick a new favorite on each listen, but I need to single out "Sad Eyes," the kind of ballad that can make anyone weep. No one else is making music like this anymore. Rouse could’ve written it for Karen Carpenter. It would make Burt Bacharach jealous.
I don’t hesitate to say that Josh Rouse is the best singer/songwriter working today. If you don’t like it now, give it a few years, like the way you may not have liked coffee or beer the first time you tried it. His music will age well and hopefully you will, too. Rouse keeps it simple, natural and honest. No gimmicks, no schtick. And God bless him for it. I don’t suspect he’ll be a Top 40 artist anytime soon, but revolutions come one by one. - Doug Kamin
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