One of this year’s biggest treats was new material from singer-songwriter Josh Rouse, one of my very favorite artists.
Going Places is his 14th full-length release and first since a 2019 Christmas album. The four-year span between this record and his last proper studio album, 2018’s Love in the Modern Age, was the longest of his career.
Blame that delay on a global pandemic that found Rouse holed up in Spain, where he lives with his wife Paz. At some point boredom gave way to songwriting, then song recording, and finally an album of smooth soft rock that could make anybody’s quarantine go down easy.
While Love in the Modern Age found Rouse channeling 80s New Wave, leaning heavily on synths with surprising and delightful results, Going Places finds him in more familiar territory. Acoustic guitars, hand-hit drums, some carefully placed horns… this is easy listening in the greatest sense of that phrase.
Rouse serves up another helping of infectious melodies and provocative lyrics, delivered in his sweet Paul Simon-esque vocals. This is exactly what I’ve come to expect from him on album after album, and he never disappoints.