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Josh Rouse



Josh Rouse makes yummy, swelling, twang-tinged pop that will appeal to fans of Matthew Sweet, the Pernice Brothers, and Archer Prewitt alike. His songs benefit from lush production (including touches of piano, cello, and violin), but his earnest, poetic lyrics would stand strong without benefit of any fancy studio trickery. Though Rouse is young, his songs have emotional maturity and nuance that usually only come with years of experience. Fans of Mark Eitzel-esque melancholia will love Rouse's somber yet catchy songs, and his splashy, torchy, lounge singer sultriness will appeal to Rufus Wainwright aficionados.

Rouse was born in Nebraska and spent most of his youth moving around the Southwest before landing in Nashville in 1996. His original plan was to go to college, but he ended up dropping out and hanging around valet-parking cars and making eight-track bedroom recordings for his own amusement. These recordings caught the attention of Slow River Records founder (and now Rykodisc president) George Howard, who offered Rouse a deal.

In 1998, Ryko/Slow River released Rouse's debut album, Dressed up Like Nebraska. In 1999, he followed up with Chester, a five-song EP collaboration with Lambchop's Kurt Wagner. The emotionally forthright and effortlessly catchy "Directions," featured here, is from 2000's Home.

Fun fact: Rouse's song "Flair," from Dressed up like Nebraska appeared on an episode of Dawson's Creek.

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