11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Josh Rouse

Josh RouseSeveral years ago, I had the chance to meet Josh Rouse after a show and offered him the personalized compliment that he was “my favorite artist who was younger than me.” Since it seems like I spend a lot of time seeing 70-year old men in concert these days, there’s still a lot of truth to that statement.

Over the years, Josh Rouse has been one of the most consistently-satisfying singer-songwriters in the pop-rock category. The few years he spent living in Spain even provided a nice diversion to his musical style. It’s hard for me to hold back on the superlatives when talking about Josh since if I were packing my suitcase to go live on a desert island, I would take two of his irresistible records: the retro-styled “1972” and the pop-masterpiece “Nashville.”

The good news about Josh Rouse is that he is now back living in Nashville, and hopefully that means we will see more local shows. Having seen him now many times over the last 20 years, I enjoy seeing him both solo with just his acoustic guitar or with his great band that usually features the Nashville rhythm section of James Haggerty on bass and Marc Pisapia on drums.

Getting Josh to submit to 11 Questions is a real treat as will be seeing him and his band live at Third & Lindsley on May 24th. There’s also a new record, “Love in the Modern Age” coming out on April 13th on Yep Roc.


Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I was born in Nebraska and moved around a bit as a kid and as an adult. Lived in Nashville from 1995 until 2004 and have just recently moved back.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital? 

First record was Carole King’s Tapestry on 8 track that my mother bought me probably anywhere as it was a popular record. The last CD I bought and my favorite of 2017 was Mac DeMarco’s This Old Dog. I bought it on Amazon. Good songs!

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?

Must have been The Doobie Brothers with my parents. Lots of pot smoke in the air, I remember that. The last show I went to see was Joe Pisapia at The 5 Spot, and it brought back the old days of 12th and Porter.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

I’m not sure I know enough about that world to comment.

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

Coffee at Terminal Cafe which is right next to my kids’ school. Pizza is usually ordered from Castrillo’s Pizza, but is better at Five Points Pizza.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

There was a really cool record called 1972 that came out about 15 years ago. Neil Young made some good records here as well as Lambchop.

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?

My house.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.

Daniel Tashian (wizard), David Berman(lyrics), Michael McDonald (just to hear him sing).

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

I haven’t played much in the past few years, but people my age tend to go to The 5 Spot or the Ryman. I like Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge in Madison as well.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?

Why Jonathan Richman of course, and he should have his name on the Music City Walk of Fame.

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

Taking my guitar in to get worked on so it really stays in tune. I’m tired of capos and intonation problems. I need to practice and play more shows. It’s fun!


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