Song of the Day #578: ‘Late Night Conversation’ – Josh Rouse

Recently, I was scrolling through my iTunes library trying to decide who should be honored with my next theme week (it’s a big honor, you know… you should see the stack of mail I have from performers asking to be featured). And I was shocked to realize I’d gone this far without spending a week on Josh Rouse.

It’s not that he’s a household name — on the contrary, he probably has family members who aren’t aware he records albums. But in my household, he’s as well-regarded as any Hall of Famer. Rouse is one of those artists whose entire discography I cycle through every other month or so. When I’m grabbing CDs to load up the car stereo, he’s always represented and usually over-represented.

I discovered Rouse in early 2006 after a colleague put his 2005 album Nashville on a best of the year list. I picked it up and was so impressed I immediately bought the four albums that preceded it. He’s since put out two more. I’ll feature a song from each over this week and the beginning of next week.

Rouse’s first album was 1998′s Dressed Up Like Nebraska, made up of recordings he sent around in search of a record contract. It’s a solid collection of mostly acoustic pop songs and a nice look at a talent-in-training. It’s interesting how some artists seem to burst from the gate fully formed (Vampire Weekend, for example, whose debut album could conceivably wind up the best thing they ever record) while others need some time to find their way.

Rouse has definitely grown as a writer and performer over the past decade. Dressed Up Like Nebraska only subtly hints at the great things to come. But the seeds are there and it’s rewarding to sift through those seeds.

‘Late Night Conversation’ is about a troubled relationship… a recurring theme in Rouse’s work that clearly interested him right from the beginning.

It’s your fear
Keeps you home
The dark mood swings
A silent phone is all you got
If somebody calls today
It won’t be safe here any more

Late night conversation
Turns into a fight and all
The years you’ve been frustrated
They finally subside
And now you walk away to face the day alone

It’s safe right here
Behind closed doors
And if it is
You’re here by choice and not by will
You stated your cause today
You won’t be staying any more

Late night conversation
Turns into a fight and all
The years you’ve been frustrated
They finally subside
And now you walk away to face the day alone

Miscommunication
Turns into a fight and all
The years you’ve been frustrated
They finally subside
And now you walk away to face your day alone

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5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #578: ‘Late Night Conversation’ – Josh Rouse

  1. Dana says:

    I’ve had some exposure to Rouse courtesy of my/your IPod collection. Most of what I have heard comes from Nashville, which is a very good album. I really like his sound quite a lot. It would be nice if, at some point, his siblings found out that he is a recording artist (along with the rest of the world).

  2. Amy says:

    It’s funny… I listened to this SOTD this morning, as is my habit. However, I didn’t get around to commenting then, as I was mostly uninspired to say much of anything. Now, at the end of my work day, I decided to give it another listen. And… I’m enjoying the heck of it. I mean – really, really enjoying it. Like I might play it a few times straight enjoying it.

    Odd. Makes me wonder if I shouldn’t go back and replay any other song that didn’t grab me at 6:00 a.m. Hmmmm……

  3. Clay says:

    I know I need to hear any song at least three times before I “get” it, but maybe I’m just slow.

  4. Amy says:

    but does the time of day add an additional factor? That is the question. ;)

  5. Clay says:

    I do my best listening late at night.

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