Another laid back gem from a modern-day master
Since releasing his first album in 1998, Josh Rouse has quietly been amassing one of the most consistently satisfying bodies of work of any American singer/songwriter. Though his leanings were initially toward roots music, he soon branched out to incorporate pop, jazz and Latin elements, never once sounding self-conscious about it. His latest album, Country Mouse City House, is no exception, the title itself a play on his reputation, suggesting a fish comfortably out of water. Fans of his meta-concept album, 1972—with its honest evocation of that year’s seminal soft-rock pleasures—will enjoy the similar vein Rouse mines here. But it’s his balance of keen insight, wry humor and durable hooks on tracks like “Hollywood Bass Player” and “Domesticated Lovers” that make this collection of tunes such a lasting pleasure.