September 2, 2004

Josh Rouse

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The video portion of this DVD/CD combo was recorded in Rouse’s hometown of Nashville, and the bonus CD includes b-sides and rarities handpicked by Rouse himself. The DVD has popular hits like “Come Back (Light Therapy),” “Sunshine,” and “Miracle.” The gentle disco strut of “Come Back (Light Therapy)” is tastily augmented with flute filigrees and weepy strings, and “Sunshine” is probably the most unabashedly peppy song he’s written. On “Miracle,” the cameras wrap around the band fading in and out of black and white as the chorus comes in: “It’s a miracle, and I’m here to tell you miracles they don’t feel this way.” Rouse hasn’t lost those loving feelings; the lyrics are often nothing more pressing than sun, sex, and having fun, and his vulnerable voice sounds downright jubilant at times.

The Rarities bonus CD begins with a melodic acoustic guitar placed between sporadic bass lines in “Michigan.” The song displays Rouse’s diverse songwriting abilities as his raspy voice apologizes to his parents, “Mom I’m sorry I was wrong, Dad I’m sorry I just couldn’t stay in that town where everyone knows everything about me.” Scenes from a Bar in Toronto is another interesting song, particularly if you like truth in advertising. It sounds like Josh was in a bar, strumming his guitar while people talked in the background. Combining terrific lyrics and acoustic guitar strumming, Rouse delivers a solid package that is sure to please old friends and attract new fans alike.

Three and a half stars

Archived article by Alex Linhardt
Red Letter Daze Editor