Interview: Josh Rouse

Uncut speaks to Josh Rouse about his fifth album, Nashville

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UNCUT: Why have you left Nashville for Spain?

“I was ready to leave, y’know? I enjoyed being around that environment, where all my friends were musicians or songwriters. That was great, but every once in a while it got to be a little too much. Although, living in Spain now, I’m starting to miss it a bit, all the talking about microphones and real nerdy bullshit like that, ha! The things you don’t think you’ll miss…

“I’d enjoyed Spain when I’d toured here before. It’d always been somewhere special in the back of my mind. I wanted to learn the language, check out the culture. It’s fun taking my Spanish lessons – as you get older you never seem to do things like that any more. It’s giving my brain a healthy work-out. I had friends here, it seemed like the thing to do. And I can play more. To be honest, I think I’ll probably have a longer career here in Europe. I do pretty well in the States, but over there they’re so fickle, y’know?”

Fickle? You should try Britain!

“Oh, London’s fickle, sure. But Spain, Portugal, France – it’s not like they’re into one or two songs, they’ve got all the records, like as if they were fans of Dylan or Neil Young! They really follow an artist. Whereas in the States – or Britain, sure – there’s just so much coming at you all the time. Here, they concentrate on you.

“And it’s a beautiful place, Altea. Right by the ocean, an hour south of Valencia, just north of Alicante. Although they told me it never rains, and it’s now been raining five days solid.”

The 1972 album marked a departure in sound for you. What’s unique about this record?

“We weren’t so conscious about trying to make it sound ‘70s this time. My stuff’s always had that influence anyway. “Soft rock” is a horrible phrase to some people, but I always like what nobody else does. Hey, it’s coming back! But it’s just folksy songs. It’s mellow, I guess. It’s just nice to put on, listen if you want. If not, you can clean the house or something while it’s playing – that’s the kind of music I like. If I could write a song as basic and sincere as “Woman” by John Lennon I would, but I‘m…well, I‘m not cynical, but I like a little joke every now and then. Like to slip in a line about trying on her clothes. Things you wouldn‘t get with the Eagles.”

Is your music of its time or out of time?

“It doesn’t fit, no, not really. But there’s just so much music in the world now and 70 per cent of it’s the same. If I’m out of step with that, and with the pop charts, OK. And if it does happen that I fall in with all that, I guess I’ll know it’s time to move on again.”

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