Continuing the chronological presentation of my 25 favorite songs…
‘After All‘ – Dar Williams (2000)
Eleven years ago, when I first wrote about this song on the blog, I couldn’t find it on YouTube so I had to upload my own version. That clip has received more than 125k views since. Not exactly ‘Gangnam Style,’ but pretty impressive for a rather obscure artist like Dar Williams.
On that clip, and on the other videos that eventually made it to YouTube, you’ll find many comments by listeners that this song quite literally saved their lives. I can only imagine how heartening that must be for Williams.
I discovered Josh Rouse after the release of his 2005 album Nashville, a record I count among one of my all-time top ten. I quickly gobbled up his previous four albums, all great, and especially loved 1972.
Titled after Rouse’s birth year (and mine), 1972 blends sounds and styles of the 70s with Rouse’s alt-pop sensibility, dabbling in a little Carole King here, a little Marvin Gaye there. Though it’s a concept album in the strictest sense, it doesn’t feel fussed over. He’s too good a songwriter for it to feel anything but authentic.
Best Albums of the 2010s – #15
Love in the Modern Age – Josh Rouse (2018)
Josh Rouse became one of my very favorite artists based on his work in the 2000s, specifically his run of albums between 2002 and 2006 (Under Cold Blue Stars, 1972, Nashville and Subtitulo).
His 2010s didn’t live up to that remarkable stretch, seeing him release a Spanish-language album and a side project before a couple of better-than-decent studio efforts.
Josh Rouse’s third album, 2002’s Under Cold Blue Stars, is a loose concept album about a suburban couple in the 50s, modeled after Rouse’s own parents. The record traces the highs and lows of a lifetime spent together.
This track, ‘Summer Kitchen Ballad,’ comes late in the album and offers an impressionistic look at what I imagine are a handful of days spent in the kitchen watching the summer turn into fall.
Yesterday’s post was running long, so I saved the second part of my Josh Rouse story for today.
Rouse has been married to a Spanish woman named Paz Suay since the mid-2000s. They raised two children while living in Spain for a decade, then relocated to Nashville a couple of years ago. Paz has appeared as a vocalist on several of Rouse’s albums and in 2007 the duo released an EP titled She’s Spanish, I’m American, on which today’s SOTD appears.