Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The songs fall out of the air

My interview with Josh Rouse, which apparently took place during SXSW (ahem, more than three months ago), is finally up today at PopMatters. I kinda picked it off the list and ended up not being that crazy about the album (though I like "Julie Come Out of the Rain"), but the interview turned out well, I thought. Anyway, check it out:

The Songs Fall Out of the Air: An Interview with Josh Rouse

By Jennifer Kelly 26 June 2013

“Nick Drake’s ‘Pink Moon’“ says Josh Rouse, when asked to name a great song. “There are hardly any words in that song and it only lasts two minutes. But it balances space and timing and it all works together somehow. I’m sure [Drake] sat down and worked on it somewhat, but it was probably also just kind of a thing that came out,” he adds. “The best songs fall out of the air, and you have to see if you can grab a couple of them.”

Rouse has been crafting his own catchy, melodic songs since the 1990s, mining a soft country rock vein which he first heard on AM radio while growing up in the Midwest. His first full length, 1998’s Dressed Up Like Nebraska celebrated the stark landscapes of the Great Plains. AllMusic Guide called it a classic. He moved to Nashville in the early aughts and recorded Home there, kicking off a string of highly-regarded, urbane pop records: Under Cold Blue Stars in 2002, 1972 in 2003, his tribute to radio-friendly California rock.

Rouse moved to Spain in the mid-00s, met his current wife and recorded three more albums—Subtitulo in 2006, El Turisto in 2010 and this year’s Happiness Waltz, his tenth full-length to date. Along the way, he and his wife moved to NYC then back to Spain and had two children, now aged one-and-a-half and four. When I catch him by phone between SXSW gigs and ask the former Army brat about his newly settled, domesticated situation, he laughs and proposes yet another move.

“Part of me likes being settled down,” he admits, “but then I get bored and want some change. I haven’t figured it out. Maybe I just haven’t found the right place yet. Maybe I should be in Los Angeles.”


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