released Mar 9th, 2010

from the album - Lemon Tree

YouTube - HibOO d'Live : Josh Rouse "Lemon Tree"

from all music

Although born in Nebraska, singer/songwriter Josh Rouse moved to various cities throughout his childhood and subsequent musical career, driven at first by his father's military career and later by his desire to take inspiration from different environments. He paid tribute to his birthplace on his 1998 debut, Dressed Up Like Nebraska, and explored the influence of his adopted home state, Tennessee, with 2005's Nashville. Rouse later settled in Spain and explored the country's musical traditions, although his songwriting continued to exhibit the summery, rootsy appeal of his earlier work.

As a child, Rouse spent time in California, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, Georgia, and Arizona. Music was one of the few constants in a life filled with new towns, new schools, and new friends, and he took comfort in bands like the Smiths and the Cure. After receiving several guitar lessons from his uncle, Rouse began writing songs as an 18 year-old and molded himself into a skilled composer, eventually scoring a contract with the Rykodisc subsidiary Slow River. His debut album, Dressed Up Like Nebraska, was released in 1998 to widespread critical acclaim. He pulled up stakes shortly thereafter and resettled in Nashville, where he was befriended by Kurt Wagner, frontman of the chamber country group Lambchop. The two began writing together and issued a collaborative EP, Chester, in the fall of 1999.

Rouse's second solo record, Home, appeared the following spring and was followed by Under Cold Blue Stars in 2002. He then launched a partnership with producer Brad Jones — known for his work with pop artists like Marshall Crenshaw, Matthew Sweet, and Jill Solbule — and the resulting album, 1972, was both an homage to the soft rock sounds of Rouse's youth and a deepening of his sound. Before the release of his next album, however, Rouse's marriage ended and he moved from Nashville to Spain. Released in 2005, Nashville served as a farewell to both the city and his marriage; it was also his most fully realized record to date, featuring Brad Jones' lush production and Rouse's poignant, nostalgic lyrics.

Once in Spain, Rouse settled in the small seaside town of Puerto de Santa Maria and began writing songs shaped by his new surroundings. Jones evetually flew into town, and the two captured a relaxed and intimate vibe on 2006's Subtitulo. After the release of two EPs (Bedroom Classics, Vol. 2 and She's Spanish, I'm American, a latter of which was recorded with Rouse's girlfriend, artist Paz Suay), Rouse chose to hande his own production for 2007's Country Mouse City House. He also married Suay, became a father, and relocated to Valencia's Mediterranean coast.

Rouse's eighth studio album, El Turista, was released in 2010, a full five years after his relocation to Spain. Living abroad for half a decade had left an indelible mark on the songwriter, who sang several of the album's tracks in Spanish. Ironically, the bulk of El Turista was recorded in Nashville with Brad Jones, a move that only strengthened the globetrotting appeal of Rouse's songwriting.

album review

Josh Rouse has never stayed in one place for very long, but El Turista — his third album as a Spanish citizen — suggests he isn’t leaving the Mediterranean anytime soon. “I’ll send you postcards, boys!,” he sings during “I Will Live on Islands,” one of the five songs to feature English lyrics. Roughly half of El Turista is performed in Spanish, and far more than that bears the country’s influence, from the strum of Rouse’s flamenco guitar to the relaxed, siesta-worthy pitch of his voice. Rouse is still a traveler at heart, though, and he samples from several different cultures throughout the album, often devoting entire tracks — including the instrumental “Bienvenido,” which opens the disc — to his fascination with Brazilian traditions. Bossa nova and tropicalia are the major players, but Rouse even attempts several samba numbers with moderate success, all the while dressing up his songs in familiar layers of strings, harmonies, and minimalist piano chords. The result is a globe-trotting pop album that sounds like nothing he's attempted before, yet still retains enough of his signature arrangements (courtesy of Brad Jones, producer of 1972, Nashville, and Subtitulo, who reprises that role here) to make Rouse’s multi-ethnic transformation a believable one. El Turista takes some getting used to, perhaps, but it’s a solid piece of work.

Track Listing

2."Duerme" (Bola De Nieve, Rouse)
3."Lemon Tree"
4."Sweet Elaine"
5."Mesie Julian" (Bola De Nieve, Rouse)
6."I Will Live On Islands"
8."Cotton Eye Joe" (Rouse, Traditional"
9."Las Voces"
10."Don't Act Tough"