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2. Marvin Gaye
4. Parts and Accessories
5. 100m Backstroke
6. Hey Porcupine
7. In Between
8. And Around
9. Afraid to Fail
10. Little Know It All
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 45
David Henry; Brad Jones
Personnel: Josh Rouse (vocals, guitar); Will Kimbrough (guitar); Ned Henry (violin); David Henry (cello, bass); Dennis Cronin (trumpet, flugelhorn); Roy Agee (trombone); Paul Burch (vibraphone); Brad Jones (piano, Chamberlain, marimba, bass); Steve Allen (Wurlitzer piano); John Deadrick (piano, Fender Rhodes piano); Jason Moon Wilkins (bass); David Gehrke (drums); Craig Krampf
(percussion); Sharon Gilchrist (background vocals).
Producers: Josh Henry, David Henry, Brad Jones.
Recorded at True Tone Studios, Nashville, Tennessee.
Personnel: Josh Rouse (vocals, guitar); Will Kimbrough (guitar); Ned Henry (violin); David Henry (cello); Dennis Cronin (trumpet, flugelhorn); Roy Agee (trombone); Brad Jones (piano, chamberlin, marimba); John Deaderick (piano); Steve Allen (Wurlitzer organ); Paul Burch (vibraphone); David Gehrke (drums); Craig Krampf (percussion); Sharon Gilchrist (background vocals).
Recording information: True Tone Studios, Nashville, TN.
Photographer: Matt Boyd.
The real challenge of this second release from Nashville singer/songwriter Josh Rouse is to identify its weakness. Throughout these 10 tracks, Rouse sings in an affecting, androgynous confluence of tones and timbral colors, weaving tales of heartache and loss across smartly deployed hook-rich instrumental backdrops. In his voice, one can make out the sweetly torn world-weariness of Whiskeytown's Ryan Adams, the goosebump-inducing glissando flourishes of Jeff Buckley (see the exquisite "100m Backstroke"), and the smokiness of an aged female jazz singer.
Subtle instrumental shadings add grace, warmth, and beauty to the arrangements. There's the clarion trumpet melody that emerges from the chorus of "Marvin Gaye," the subtle female backing vocals of "Directions," and the warming cello of "Parts and Accessories." Fuller instrumentation enlivens "And Around" and "Little Know It All," both of which recall the more down-tempo and de-funkified incarnations of Lambchop (with whose principal, Kurt Warner, Rouse collaborated for the CHESTER EP). One almost imagines the former, which is perhaps the highlight of the set, to be a lost Jimmy Scott track reconstituted with pedal-steel guitar--the perfect accompaniment to a darkened early-summer drive across Nebraska.
Entertainment Weekly (3/31/00, p.70) - "...Inventive arrangements...with power-packed drumming energizing the acoustic instruments....it'll provide consolation should you find yourself alone when the dancing's done." - Rating: B
Q (4/00, p.99) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...gently countrified a la Neil Young but echoing Rouse's teenage love of The Smiths and The Cure....there's something quietly evocative here with plenty of homespun charm."
CMJ (4/00, p.55) - "...draws upon a rich and varied palette....with pleasant, trancelike tunes....There's no denying that Rouse is a smart pop craftsman and any of his tunes is certainly catchy, engaging, and plaintive on its own..."
NME (Magazine) (3/11/00, p.33) - 6 out of 10 - "...a peculiar gig....there are swooning pedal steel guitars and occasional licks that locate the music at the country end of the spectrum, the easy definitions don't work....a fascinating rationale..."
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