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Country Mouse Companion

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Album Review

Like a baseball player who quietly hits 30 home runs every year or a golfer who regularly finishes in the Top Ten, Josh Rouse's continued streak of excellence is easy to ignore and maybe even downplay a little. Beginning with 2003's 1972, he's been cranking out sweet and sophisticated albums influenced by his love of soft rock and filled with lyrical gems, smooth performances and his wonderfully rich and intimate vocals, and Country Mouse City House is no different. Again recorded in his new home country of Spain, this time out Rouse handles the production himself and proves that he learned quite a bit from his former partner Brad Jones as the album is just as lushly layered and as filled with aural candy (like the funky clavinet on "Hollywood Bass Player" or the horns that bolster "God, Please Let Me Go Back") as on the last three albums. The songs on Country are a nice mix of the last three albums, too; some have the lazy, relaxed feel of Subtitulo ("Snowy Night," "Pilgrim"), some have the indie pop glow of Nashville ("God, Please Let Me Go Back," "Sweetie") some have the soft rock groove of 1972 "(Italian Dry Ice," "Hollywood Bass Player"). Whatever it is, the sound they all have in common is Rouse's first-rate songcraft, and there are few modern singer/songwriters who can approach him. While Country Mouse City House isn't a towering home run, it is a stand-up double that drives in a couple runs, and that's often what it takes to win games.


Born: 1972 in Nebraska

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Although born in Nebraska, singer/songwriter Josh Rouse moved to various cities throughout his childhood and subsequent musical career, driven at first by his father's military career and later by his desire to take inspiration from different environments. He paid tribute to his birthplace on his 1998 debut, Dressed Up Like Nebraska, and explored the influence of his adopted home state, Tennessee, with 2005's Nashville. Rouse later settled in Spain and explored the country's musical traditions, although...
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