My review of the new Josh Rouse album, as featured in Alternative Ulster. In short it's good, a bit like a less produced Nashville, with a bit of 1972 thrown in the mix. It's pretty standard Josh Rouse, perhaps not as honest as Nebraska and not the classic that Under Cold Blue Stars is, but if you're a fan of Josh, and if you're not you should be, then this is a record you'll enjoy. 7.5/10
ARTIST JOSH ROUSE
LABEL BEDROOM CLASSICS
PR RICHARD WOOTTON PUBLICITY
Josh Rouse is vying for the 'prolific' tag. Just over a year since his farewell record to the town that raised him, Subtitulo, the first album on his own imprint, reflects Josh's migration from big-hat Nashville to small town Spain. Josh describes his transition as 'packing a guitar and two big suitcases and renting an apartment on the coast. I've been here ever since'.
The sun-drenched, relaxed Spanish way of life pervades the album. Due to his relocation Josh recorded with a small band of musicians, creating a mainly nylon string guitar and voice album. Opener 'Quiet Town' pays homage to the community that welcomed Josh on his arrival. It's relaxed and reflective, mellow and tuneful. 'Summertime' and 'It looks like love' hark back to a less-produced 1972 style sound, keeping the catchy melodies that Josh is renowned for.
Josh treads new ground later on, teaming up with female vocalist Paz Suay on 'The Man Who'. It's a trick that works well as their voices complement each other. The strong narrative on Subtitulo, especially 'Jersey Clowns', a song about the characters Josh left behind in America, and 'His Majesty Rides', about life as a touring musician recall earlier Rouse albums. A couple of songs misfire and it's not of the high standard of Under Cold Blue Stars but on the whole Subtitulo is strong. There's nothing unexpected, no new directions, just a bunch of great summertime melodies.