Today’s random SOTD is the opening track on Josh Rouse’s 2007 album Country Mouse City House. It was co-written with his wife, Paz Suay (whom my wife considers a dear friend after they chatted for five minutes at a Josh Rouse concert in Asheville, North Carolina).
‘Sweetie’ beautifully captures the feeling of a young romance, ripe with possibilities. Two lovers “laughing in circles” and dreaming about sleeping on rooftops and riding bicycles — it sounds like the perfect European vacation, which makes sense given that the album was written in Spain.
Two Josh Rouse songs over the past three Random Weekends. Can’t complain about that!
Today’s track comes from Rouse’s 2015 album The Embers of Time, which he described as his “surreal expat therapy record.” These tracks find him battling depression and coming to terms with his own mortality. But while a couple of songs are on the morose side, this is mostly a life-affirming collection.
The 2011 album Josh Rouse and the Long Vacations somehow slipped entirely past my radar. Not to the point that I don’t own it (obviously I do, because it showed up on a Random iTunes Weekend) but, given that Rouse is one of my favorite artists, it’s bizarre that it’s completely new to me.
This album came out during Rouse’s Mediterranean phase, when he was living in Spain and dabbling in world music. His previous album, 2010’s El Turista, consisted almost entirely of songs sung in Spanish. So maybe I mistakenly thought this one was more of the same.
I’m happy to see that new music is forthcoming from Josh Rouse, whose last album (Love in the Modern Age) came out in 2018. Rouse returns this summer with a side project called Isla, and a 9-track album titled The Mediterranean Gardener.
Isla is a solo effort, but different enough in sound and approach for Rouse to record it under a new name. He describes it as “improvised electronica” that he whipped together during his pandemic quarantine.
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.