on 15 September 2005
In the age of single track downloads, it's a rare pleasure to discover an album that does not leave you fidgeting with the skip button on the remote control every few seconds.
As the Amazon review suggests, the album does have a consistent feel and tempo throughout, providing the perfect backdrop to the end of a busy day. This might tempt some to place the album in the dull MOR / AOR category. If so (and I would argue the point), Nashville, like Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, is MOR with a touch of genius.
Despite the consistent feel, each track has its own identity that blossoms with every listen (another hallmark of a great album). As mentioned in other reviews, the songs span a range of styles with strong melody cutting through them all.
The nostalgic "Side A / Side B" track listing is a nice touch and the album's length - just ten well crafted songs - is perfect, a throwback to times when tedious seventeen-plus track albums were beyond the reach of technology.
The album is a gem - captivating, uplifting and most of all lovely.
on 18 February 2005
What a fantastic album! Following in the footsteps of the brilliant 1972, I'd expected to be disappointed by a less inspired follow-up. How wrong can you be! Nashville takes everything from 1972 and cranks up the quality an extra notch or two. While the previous album contained 10 uplifting and well-crafted pop songs, Nashville repeats the trick, but contains more heart-felt, moving songwriting. It achieves the perfect mix of sing-along, harmony-filled tracks such as Carolina, Winter in the Hamptons and It's the Nighttime, with utterly beautiful, uplifting, building anthems such as stand-out tracks Sad Eyes, Middle School Frown and My Love has Gone, songs with the ability to break your heart and put it back together in the space of five glorious minutes. Highlights aside, there really isn't a bad track on the album. If you fancy cheering yourself up and ushering in an early summer, Nashville is the album to take you there.
I knew nothing of Josh Rouse until I came across a track on an Uncut cover disc last year. On the strength of that I got hold of Nashville and have now lived with it for a year or so. I can now tell you that this is a brilliant album. Firstly the songs have great tunes. There isn't a bad track on here - and you will find yourself singing along. Lyrically there are some interesting ideas - `I sleep with the TV on - it's the only sound now love's gone' is such a great hook! Secondly this is a make you smile album - light, summery, and perfect for an afternoon in the garden. Thirdly the arrangements are interesting -it's well recorded and produced. The casual listener might dismiss this as MOR music and it's true this is not a country album. But if you like classic pop - you will love this. You might just put it into your all time classic albums list - I have!
I was apprehensive about buying this at first mostly because I was not all that impressed with Josh Rouse' previous album `1972' (2003). After reading reviews that described `Nashville' as the adult pop record of the year so far, I decided to buy it anyway. I must say that `Nashville' is essentially a continuation of where `1972' left off, yet I feel that this is much stronger than the previous record. What remains of the previous record is the same polished production and perfect playing with the same bouncy rhythm. The songs although they don't particularly stand from one another are of a rather higher standard in comparison to `1972'. It was always the honest song writing that I loved about Josh Rouse albums in the first place anyway and not the production but I must admit I prefer the more lo-fi production on `Dressed Up Like Nebraska' and `Under Cold Blue Stars'. Josh does manage to really create that unstoppable rhythm that made previous albums great but which I felt was slightly lacking on `1972'. Lyrically it's same old themes of love, shame and loneliness.
I've listened to `Nashville' about ten times now and I find that I'm enjoying this album much more than I expected to. `Nashville' is a blend of `Under Cold Blue Stars' (my personal favourite Josh Rouse album) and `1972'; if you liked both of them then you'll love this. This is a wonderful sugar coated pop record of a high calibre, which gives you the impression you listening to happy music when actually you're not. Excellent.
on 23 August 2005
This is the third Josh Rouse Album I have bought and each one is an improvement on the last. He not only can write a good song he can sing effortlessly too. 1972 gave me one of my favourite songs in the piano lead perfectly constructed Flight Attendant. In Streetlights which is a contender for my track of the year and Sad Eyes he and producer Brad Jones have included string arrangements which give the songs more depth and should open up his Radio power which Its The Nightime has done. Don't be put off by the album title, I like country music but this is not like your Country norm fare. Its quite difficult to pigeon-hole Mr Rouse, he's not like Brad Paisley more like Jim Bryson. Only the final track of the 10 songs disappointed me hence the not quite perfect rating. If you haven't bought a Josh Rouse album suggest you start with this one and work backwards and if the Streetlights don't shine for you then ignore any other review written by this hack.
on 5 February 2005
I enjoyed 1972 because it had an immediacy and warmth that made you wanted to play it again and again and I'm glad to report that the same applies to Josh Rouse' latest long player. The pace has picked up slightly in Nashville, with opener It's The Night Time positively bouncing along and with a definite southern American twang to it. Which makes Winter In The Hamptons all the more surprising that it sounds positively Brit popish in comparison, with hand claps and Josh making most of his vocal harmonies. The acoustic guitar is still very much prevalent through out the record but is now joined by piano and some more classical instrumentation such as the violin. However it is Josh's voice that is still the primary reason for the song's distinctive character, he has a lazy sometimes whimsical style that is perfect for the songs. When the pace slows down and the songs become minimalist instrument wise, then you can really appreciate the lyrics and their delivery ("yeah there goes that girl with the cheap guitar/she's a real rock star/she's a dying art" from my stand out track Middle School Frown). If there is one criticism that could be levelled at Nashville, it is perhaps dissimilar enough from 1972, and I was hoping for perhaps a slightly varied direction; but I guess Josh has decided that if it isn't broken, don't fix it. Understandable when you listen to Saturday, a perfect Sunday afternoon reading the papers kind of track with some exquisite harmonies or Sad Eyes, that once again accentuates Josh voice with just a piano in the background before the final climax when guitars and violins kick in and his voice really soars. The album does not have any blockbuster tracks, it's a slow burn where you won't really be motivated to put on the CD but when you do, you'll wonder why you hesitated in the first place. Not a classic, but a solid bit of work from that man Rouse. Well done fella.
on 17 January 2006
My husband bought me this album for Christmas and I love it. It is wonderful for preparing the evening meal to! I cannot stop playing it and already know most of the words.
Thinking of buying it? Don't think. BUY IT, BUY IT, BUY IT. You won't regret it.
Linda Dodsworth (aged 51)! See even us oldies like our stuff!
on 16 March 2005
On his seventies concept album 1972, Josh Rouse found a winning formula to harness his considerable musical talents; no surprise then that he treads very similar ground on Nashville. Don't be deceived by the album title or the pedal-steel drenched album opener "It's the Nighttime." Nashville is not a country album, with the album instead incorporating a number of styles ranging from folk-rock to pop with even a hint of soul.
Although less era-specific than 1972, Nashville has a nostalgic feel. Indeed, the album is so retro that it is divided into two halves as if it were on vinyl. If anything the album has more of an eighties than seventies feel. "Winter in the Hamptons" has more than an echo of the Smiths while elsewhere Rouse looks to his youth for inspiration. "Middle School Frown" finds him reminiscing about high school insecurities "You were a new-waver/ It was 1983/ I was new on the scene/ I just wanted to everyone to like me" while "It's a Nighttime" has him thinking of old friendships. "You come a long way baby/ From your days at school/ I heard you're really living uptown/ I'm just a downtown fool."
Rouse, who lived in Nashville for ten years before recently moving to Spain, writes about the spiritual home of country music with a mixture of affection and regret. He is certainly in a more personal mood than on 1972, singing with a troubled heart on a number of songs as he reflects on the breakdown of his marriage. "Love ain't special/ Love ain't great" he concludes on "My Love Has Gone." Elsewhere, Rouse's melancholy is best expressed on the intimate acoustic ballad "Saturday" and on the beautiful piano based "Sad Eyes." "You watch another speeding car, moving like you wish you could...but oh, it's too bad, 'cos they've drove away your happiness and good times" he sings on the latter.
Nashville is an introspective affair, but the tone of the album is more bittersweet than self-pitying, and at times optimistic and uplifting, and with it Rouse has confirmed his reputation as a songwriter of wit and warmth and a crafter of gorgeous melodies.
on 18 February 2005
Nashville is another superb piece of songwriting and performing from an artist that deserves every bit of critical acclaim he gets.
As previous reviewers have commented, Nashville is not dissimilar to 1972 in style. I think it is more a blend of 1972 and Under Cold Blue Stars (probably my favourite Josh Rouse record). As such it remains upbeat whilst covering some fairly melancholy subject matter. Josh's lyrics as ever are brilliant as are the melodies. His laid-back voice adds a warmth to all his songs that many other singer/songwriters lack.
I was lucky enough to see Josh Rouse perform live in a small club in Birmingham a few months ago. He played the majority of 1972 and quite a number of tracks from Nashville accompanied by just his acoustic guitar. It was quite simply stunning!
In short, this is a superb album and is well worth looking into. If you get the chance to see Josh Rouse live, do not pass it up; it is a superb experience!
on 1 May 2005
What a perfect album! Josh Rouse has created a thing of beauty - classic, catchy pop songs, moving and substantial lyrics and perfect musicianship and arrangements. I bought this on a whim after hearing good things from various sources and it hasn't been off my stereo since. At first I suspected the album was a little soft and lacking weight, but after further listening the subtle lyricism and sheer excellence of these songs shine through. Although this is a break-up album (written in response to Rouse's split from his wife and move to Spain) I find it extremely uplifting and it's sunny, sing along melodies always put me in a good mood.
This is definitely top of my 2005 list so far. Bravo Mr Rouse!