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The Josh Rouse interview exclusive from 24/7 Magazine

Rousing melodies
American singer-songwriter Josh Rouse has been garnering a growing reputation over the past seven years with his soulful, country-tinged music. He recently left his hometown of Nashville and settled in Valencia. 24/7 Valencia caught up with him...

24/7 Valencia: You've been on the music scene for over 10 years, recording and touring the U.S. and Europe. Your latest album 'Nashville' went international. Why do you think so many people connected with it?
Josh Rouse: Well, it's only been 7 years of touring and releasing records, but it feels like ten. All of my records have been released internationally and thus I've been playing concerts with a band or solo to support those records. I think the culmination of touring, word of mouth, press; all these things have helped in finding an audience, especially for someone like myself who is not "mainstream". The album prior to Nashville, "1972" really reached a wider audience than my previous albums. thus Nashville was well received because my fan base had grown significantly...and it was a good album as well. Hah!

What are your influences (music, film, books, and people)?
Neil Young, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, these are some of my heroes, as they've done things on their own terms and for a long time. I think Wes Anderson is making some really creative films these days, as well as Vincent Gallo. I like Henry Miller as a writer. I think I'm inspired by a wide array of people. I've lived all over the US and travelled most of the world, so I find inspiration in the person giving me coffee or checking me into my hotel. I don't know, I think they keep me grounded in some sort of way. A sense of home, normalcy perhaps.

Your 'rock'n'roll' lifestyle on the road has been widely documented in the past. What did you learn from it?
Has it? A friend of mine made a documentary of some of our travels, and if anything it was an insight into how boring and mundane a touring musician's life can be. Don't get me wrong, I love my job and I've had my fun, but for the most part it's really tiring most of the time. I usually enjoy the first week of a tour then its downhill from there! Over the years you learn how much you want to tour, and how to make it as enjoyable as possible. Being hungover for weeks is just miserable, I gave that up.

Why did you move to Spain and what do you think of Valencia? Do you prefer the Spanish way of life?
I really like Valencia although I've only been here a few months; it seems to have a lot going on in the art and music world which is nice. The city itself is really beautiful, and it's right next to the sea! It's still lacking in food variety, but that seems to be changing. I arrived in Altea about a year ago to stay with my girlfriend, and never left (except for touring). I guess you could say the "Spanish" way of life suits me just fine.

Can you tell us a bit about the recently released collection of songs, 'Bedroom Classics Vol 2'?
Bedroom classics volume 2 is a mini album of some instrumentals and a few other things that I made as a "limited edition". Meaning there are very few hard copies available, it's more of a serious fan thing. I had a Bedroom Classics volume 1 and people really wanted another one.

What are your future plans? Will readers be able to see you live in Valencia soon?
I'll have a new record coming out at the end of March entitled "Subtitulo". I recorded it here in Spain down at Paco Loco's place in Puerto de Santa Maria. I'm going to tour the states in April and the U.K in May, so I would have to say I'll be doing some shows here in Spain in June or late May that of course will include Valencia.

Is the bottle half empty or half full in your world?
In my world the bottle sways from side to side, spilling a little here and there, sometimes i pick it up and drink from it!

Thanks for your time!

24/7 Valencia magazine


The Josh Rouse interview exclusive

Josh Rouse

If the excellent, internationally lauded 'Nashville' was Rouse's Revolver, then 'Subtitulo' is his Rubber Soul. It's an acoustic affair, with a warm feel and lovingly crafted melodies. With a distinctive, adept voice and a nylon string guitar, it's pop at its finest with all of the tunes and none of the contrivance. It has a laid back vibe that can make it seem a little flat on first listen but after a few spins, you're hooked for good!

Having upped sticks from Nashville and moved to Altea in Spain, it's perhaps not surprising that there is a Bossa Nova vibe on some of the tracks of his latest album. Recording in España last summer was, by all accounts, a relaxed affair ...with a piscina and three hour lunches being enjoyed by the band and stalwart producer, Brad Jones. That 'tranquilo' vibe seeps through every track, making it sound all so easy.

'Quiet Town' (where interesting people with good conversation pass the time and nothing much goes on but it's a great life) sums up where Josh is at on this album. He is a singer/songwriter at peace with himself. Rouse is not aiming to break the mould with experimentation or overblown production. He hits the spot on virtually every number with catchy verses, strong choruses and great hooks, baby. There are plenty of picked guitars, some funky percussion and lush strings, reflecting his love of 70's Easy listening pop.

However, if you scratch the surface you'll find there's some dark shadows lurking like the rough diamond duped by his conniving babe in 'Jersey Clowns' or tales of Josh's hard-drinking days and being hospitalised in 'Givin' it Up'. It makes for a very human collection with out and out love songs like 'Wonderful' to his Valenciana girlfriend "I think you're wonderful, don't change." It's an album of a musician who appreciates the good times all the more 'cos he knows what it's like to hit rock bottom...

'It looks like Love' captures the heady mixture of lust and euphoria of getting it on with someone you really believe in and living in the present as the past slips away. Check out the jazzy grooves & sensuality of 'Summertime' that recall his American youth of 'Iced tea... cigarettes & long blonde hair... watermelon....and being cool."

"His Majesty Rides' swings along with soul-funk ease and electric piano ornamentation and reflects a singer very much in the driving seat. Although only 33 minutes long, this is a confident, catchy, sunshine collection of tunes that you will be humming in no time. He now lives in Valencia with his girlfriend, the singer and artist Paz Suay. She designed the album's artwork... Josh Rouse will be touring Spain around May or June of 2006.

24/7 Valencia magazine

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