Josh Rouse @ Grimey’s New and Preloved Music (April 20, 2013) and Third & Lindsley (April 21, 2013) / Nashville TN

Josh Rouse - band Grimeys - RESIZE

I once said to Josh Rouse “You are my favorite artist younger than me.” Despite a string of recent records that weren’t totally to my liking, his latest LP, The Happiness Waltz, and his recent live Nashville appearances have reaffirmed the truth of that statement. The native Nebraskan, currently living in Spain, returned to his one-time residence for two weekend appearances.

His Saturday stop was a 30-minute outdoor set in Grimey’s parking lot. This was a part of the sixth annual Record Store Day festivities, the worldwide record collector geek fest. Earlier, several hundred of us waited on line for hours to buy special limited edition vinyl releases. One was a seven-inch pressing of Josh’s latest single, “Julie (Come out of the Rain),” featuring what we used to call a non-LP B-side back in the days before downloads.

Josh Rouse - RESIZE

Rouse is no stranger to Grimey’s. In his introduction, owner Mike Grimes speculated that Josh may have performed Grimey’s first in-store ever at their original Berry Hill location. Playing so early in the day without much of a sound check, Rouse’s performance wasn’t his best. Despite some missed cues, sound blips and guitar tuning, it was a great free preview of what was ahead at Third and Lindsley the following night. The mini-set featured five new songs and closed with two familiar ones: “Winter in the Hamptons” and “Love Vibration.” The latter was a great set closer livening up the crowd of a hundred or so.

As always, Rouse assembled another fine band to accompany him. Old Nashville friend Marc Pisapia (Joe Marc’s Brother) held down the drums while also providing some nice backing vocals. Two new faces from Spain rounded out the band: Xema Fuertes had a flair for laying down slick pop licks on his electric guitar and Cayo Bellveser played a strong rock-steady bass.

Josh Rouse - band NSN - RESIZE

The next night, Rouse and crew headed downtown for the Third and Lindsley show. The first hour was broadcast live on WRLT-FM Lightning 100’s long-standing weekly concert series, Nashville Sunday Night. The set list started off quite similar to the previous day’s warm up but Sunday night’s execution was precise and flawless.

The show featured a great mix of both old and new songs, even going way back for the title track from his debut record, Dressed Up Like Nebraska. Spotting the five-minute warning sign as 10 p.m. approached, Josh shouted “Let’s do it!” before kicking into “It’s the Nighttime.” This crowd-pleaser is from his 2005 Nashville LP written with his old local pal Daniel Tashian. The radio station then signed off and the band took a quick break before coming back to play for another twenty-five minutes.

Josh Rouse NSN- RESIZE

“Comeback (Light Therapy)” was a great choice for the first encore as it gave the guys from Spain a great chance to show their chops. It was then a mellow ride to the finish with Josh honoring a request for “Sad Eyes” starting out solo then finishing up with the band. The evening closed with the title track from his record, 1972.

It’s a special treat that Rouse’s tours always include a Nashville stop. I think by now he knows that he is always welcome here.

Rouse’s performance exemplified what I admire most about him: He writes intelligent songs that he delivers with a pleasant pop sensibility and a knack for knowing when to rock things up.

SETLIST (April 20, 2013):

  1. A Lot Like Magic
  2. Simple Pleasure
  3. Julie (Come Out of the Rain)
  4. It’s Good to Have You
  5. This Movie’s Way Too Long
  6. Winter in the Hamptons
  7. Love Vibration

SETLIST (April 21, 2013):

  1. A Lot Like Magic
  2. Our Love
  3. It’s Good to Have You
  4. Julie (Come Out of the Rain)
  5. Winter in the Hamptons
  6. Love Vibration
  7. Hollywood Bass Player
  8. Simple Pleasure
  9. The Ocean
  10. Dressed Up Like Nebraska
  11. This Movie’s Way Too Long
  12. Flight Attendant
  13. It’s the Nighttime
  14. Comeback (Light Therapy)
  15. Sunshine (Come on Lady)
  16. Sad Eyes
  17. Quiet Town
  18. 1972

BAND:

Josh Rouse – acoustic guitar and vocals
Xema Fuertes – electric guitar
Cayo Bellveser – bass
Marc Pisapia – drums and backing vocals

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