Thursday, 20 December 2012

Albums for Life: 79: Josh Rouse: Dressed Up Like Nebraska

In the late 90s I was briefly signed up to Rykodiscs, back then refuge of Elvis Costello and a home to Nick Drake's back catalogue;  a happy home then.
One of the directors was a guy named Ian Moss who I still keep in touch with. It was my first experience of the real benefit of being attached to a label: Free CDs.
Ian was an enthusiastic and generous guide.
One album that he pointed me towards was Josh Rouse's 1998 debut, 'Dressed Up Like Nebraska'.
I played it to death.
The follow ups 'Home' (2000) and 'Under Cold Blue Stars' (2002) were stellar and preferred by the critics but, as seems to be becoming ever more apparent to me, it was the entry point album that remained the most potent.

A cello weaves its way evocatively through much of the melancholy, there's an openness to the shimmering chords and shuffling drums that provides the perfect backdrop to Rouse's fetching tales of dislocation.
Rouse has gone on to produce many fine albums; although since moving to Spain he's cheered up a bit too much for the good of his music. He needs to get out of the sun and back into the shadows that helped inform this album's gloomy, dappled dilemmas; 'Dressed Up Like Nebraska' is magnificently miserable...

PS: Currently listening to 'Home' and realise that it's a better album; I'll post a couple of tracks at the bottom of the page after the two from 'Nebraska'.
I'm still sticking with my first love though...


  1. interesting one - Josh Rouse is on my list further up but a later lp , must admit this one sits behind the next 4, home , under cold blue and when he wwent all fleetwood mac in 1972 snd nashville. Totally agree that since he has moved to spain , he seems just too dam happy

  2. Wow, you really do fall for first crushes! I've been a fan since the more sunny "1972". I had a helluva time picking a favorite, since all of his albums are good. But my pick is way, way, way higher on my chart. Rouse has such a incredible gift for melody, which he really needs since his lyrics are often rather "comme ci, comme ca". And yup, settling down in sunny Spain with a hot senorita seems to have him running out of steam, but good for him!
    Did I mention that my pick is MUCH higher?

  3. First though; best thought...
    Or maybe I'm just a lazy thinker.

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