Volume 93, Issue 101

Friday, April 7, 2000


Weekend Pass

Dracula casts ballet in new light

SNFU nears the home stretch

Scanner earning raves from pirating airwaves

Rouse at Home as a songwriter

Step Kings step to risky beat


Rouse at Home as a songwriter

Gazette file photo

By Shawn Despres
Gazette Staff

"I'm just hanging around the house, enjoying a day off. I've been out doing promotional stuff since January, so it's nice to get a day of rest," offers Nashville singer/songwriter Josh Rouse.

After logging countless hours on the road over the last couple of years, it's fitting that Rouse's second full length album is called Home. The record features 10 beautifully orchestrated pop gems which aptly illustrate his musical and lyrical maturity.

When asked how he feels about being lumped into the singer/songwriter category, Rouse quickly points out that he is part of a band as opposed to being a solo artist.

"I play with a full band, live and on the album," he says. However, since I use my name it is inevitable that I get put into that genre. I've thought about going with a band name and may use one on the next album. I figure that if I am going to do it, I should do it now before I get too big and lose my audience with the name change."

Rouse received his fair share of critical acclaim for his debut disc, Dressed Like Nebraska, as well as For Chester, a collaborative EP he recorded with Lambchop's Kurt Wagner. He says, however, that the praise he received did not create any added pressure when writing Home.

"I received lots of good press in Canada and Europe but not that much in the U.S., so there wasn't that much pressure when I was recording this album," he states. "The praise I did get didn't transfer into a lot of sales so ultimately the only place I can go is up. I try and write the best songs I can, so each album is a ultimately a building block."

What makes Rouse's music different from the typical pop fare is its lush instrumentation. His emotional lyrics play out over a sonic landscape, which consists of the typical pop instruments but also incorporates organs, cellos, violins and horns.

"I write songs with the instrumentation in my head," he explains. "I like using a lot of different instruments because textually it sounds so much nicer. I don't want to hide my music behind a wall of guitar sounds. I'll leave that to the Foo Fighters. I think on my next album, I'll try and mix it up a bit though by putting some really spare songs on it, as well as some lush ones."

Having already written half of the songs for the follow up to Home, Rouse admits he will be spending some time in the studio this August, in hopes of releasing a new record by next March. With this next effort, Rouse is looking to experiment with electronic music in an effort to expand his sound.

"On the next record, I would like to add some subtle electronic sounds to give the songs a bit more ambiance, but in a subtle way," he explains. "I want the songs to be a bit more groovy – but not dance songs. They'll be in the same vein as what Sam Prekop [of The Sea and Cake] is doing."

Until then, Rouse will be out on the road promoting Home. Included in his current tour with Guster is a show at the Horseshoe in Toronto tomorrow night. He'll also be making an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on April 14.

After this tour is finished, he'll be touring with Luna and Ben Folds Five before heading to Europe for a three week headlining stint. When he returns to North America, Rouse will play Toronto's North By Northeast Music Festival and may also perform at Blue Rodeo's Stardust Picnic tour as well.

Hopefully Rouse enjoyed his day off, because it doesn't look like this talented individual will be seeing a whole lot of Home anytime soon.

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