Americana, Folk rock, Modern folk
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The Past. The Present. The Future. This record is in some 
ways unique. One that bridges both history, and what is to 
come. All highlighted in a musical collection that also 
reflects the current day, and the here and now for the artist. 
This is the world of Josh Rouse circa 2011: An American,
 born in the Midwest, who has over his life called many 
parts of the United States home, but an American now 
living a more cosmopolitan existence in modern Europe. 
The common thread through this rich journey has been the 
music – distinctive, appealing, and much celebrated across 
the globe. And so the life of Josh Rouse, of the Artist, is 
reflected in this set of new recordings, a new album,
 his ninth overall, and with the simple title, ‘Josh Rouse and 
the Long Vacations’.

This album you are holding was recorded in Spain, but 
decidedly not “Spanish” in feel, or not, as some might say, 
ethnic. This is an album that, in some fashion, reflects a
 reprise of the singer-songwriter’s roots. It encapsulates a 
past for Rouse that is steeped in that American Midwest, 
infused with the spirit of the endless plains and a homespun 
existence in Nebraska. And a past also touched by the 
American South – one with a distinctive friendly nature, 
like a warm hug by a lake on a glorious summer evening. It 
reflects a life growing up with the smooth uplifting sounds 
of early ‘70s AM radio. The soft rock sounds of the
 Artist’s youth. That is the past.

But this album is also informed by the present. While not 
sounding what could be described as “Latin”, there is no 
doubting that La Furia Roja is manifested in the tracks 
within. This is an album recorded in this European nation, 
which – by definition – adds its own distinctive texture to 
the sounds and spirit and feel of these nine songs. Spain – a 
land where an afternoon siesta is still a holdover from what 
now seems like a past, simpler life. A society inspired 
by the glorious sun-soaked beaches of the Mediterranean, 
where life is free and easy. And modern Spain – which 
embraces a mixture of the old and new, where 21st century
 architecture nestles alongside ancient buildings. This is 
Spain – a forward thinking country, living beyond the 
traditional rules by which the crossroads of commerce and 
culture must adhere. A nation exemplified by the bright
 colors and bold brushstrokes of artistic masters such as 
Miró and Picasso, reverentially embracing culture – where 
art is life, and life is art. This is what inspires the Artist, 
and has motivated the formation of these songs.

And the album is steeped in the future – a new decade in 
2011, and on toward the years ahead. This is a future where 
the world is no longer carved into distinct small units, 
where life has become universal – a melting pot of different 
cultures, and personalities, and influences – one reflecting 
a cosmopolitan spirit, with no boundaries. This is also a 
future where technology breaks down barriers and distance. 
It is a world that has enabled an album to be recorded for 
posterity, in part in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in Barcelona, 
and on to Valencia, Spain, where it is gathered together as 
a cohesive whole. Indeed, Valencia – the city of arts & 
sciences embracing the avant garde & the futuristic – one 
that could be said to epitomize, the future.

To the musician’s credit this is an album that makes a bold 
statement, and reaches its lofty goals. Then, the Artist is no
 stranger to brave moves, having made the choice to uproot 
a life and relocate to a new continent, a far, far cry from his 
home in Nashville, Tennessee. But as courageous as this 
album may be, at the same time it keeps its contents both 
fun and, irreverent. As the Artist himself has said “This 
album is a variety of short, colorful, pop songs influenced
 by the sun, city living, adapting, and humor!” A reminder 
that music, at its essence, is entertainment.

This down-to-earth singer-songwriter came out early in his
 career with an astounding and acclaimed piece of music in 
‘Dressed Up like Nebraska’, highlighted by its title cut, and 
the song “Suburban Sweetheart”, which 15 years later still 
stands up majestically alongside other tracks of its canon. 
And the Artist continued to build on that impressive debut 
with subsequent albums, via his fruitful and long-running 
collaborations with producer Brad Jones. To many, this is 
personified in the break out hit album ‘1972’. It has been a 
career that, thankfully, has seen the Artist exhibit a welcome 
reluctance to follow the “devil-may-care, lets release
 everything recorded on tape” attitude of some of his 
contemporaries. Careful and thoughtful with his output, the 
Nebraskan ensures that the songs are well considered, and 
striving for the gold standard.

And this is a characteristic that is evident again in this 
current set of recordings you hold at this time. While the 
tone of this new album may be largely looser, and more 
upbeat, and distinct from the earnest seriousness of the 
artist’s early work, there is no denying that the same level 
of skill and care and attention has gone into its creation. As 
a result, ‘Josh Rouse and the Long Vacations’ marks a new 
peak in achievement for the Artist.

Upon first hearing, the listener will note with interest, that 
for example “Movin’ On” sets the tone for the whole album.
 It is light, and airy, with a shuffling easy-going tempo, 
reminiscent of a summer breeze, accentuated by layers of 
smooth and melodious harmony vocals, while lyrically it 
echoes the themes of change and transformation, discussed 
above. In some ways the song can be seen as providing a 
bridge between some of the Artist’s older material, and 
those inspired by the present day.

The playfully loping tune “Lazy Days” looks to ‘The 
Kinks’ “Sunny Afternoon” as a kindred spirit. Indeed, a 
nod to the past again. And the words relay a tale of a 
carefree life, which the Rouse draws from his time in 21st 
century Spain. But it could be the third cut on the record, 
“Fine, Fine”, which really encapsulates the new and old 
worlds. Distinctive, it could not be mistaken for anyone but 
‘Josh Rouse’, but at the same time, melodically it is the 
most ethnic. It is a song steeped in the musical movement 
known as Bossa Nova, made popular by the classic ‘60s’ 
recordings of Antonio Carlos Jobim, which featured the 
guitar work of Brazilian legend, Joao Gilberto.

In drawing the album’s players from a mostly local crew of 
musicians, the Artist has made an excellent choice. Across 
the breadth of these nine songs, the supporting cast exhibit 
an uncanny ability to interpret the material with perfection. 
In addition to core Long Vacations members Xema Fuertes
and Caio Bellveser, the record is enhanced by contributions
 from special guests Refree (a.k.a. Raül Fernández) on the
 theremin, piano, moog and vox, Robert DiPietro providing 
drums and percussion, Esteban Perles (on more drums) and 
Paco Loco on the baritone guitar. One cannot help but 
notice that the musicians amply complement the Artist, 
successfully interpreting his sound, and his vision. This is 
particularly illustrated in a number of deft touches 
peppered across the album – the staccato handclaps on “Oh, 
Look What the Sun Did!”, the wild and space-age theremin 
on “Fine, Fine”, a twanging guitar on “Disguise”, the 
almost jazz-like bass that opens “Friend”, the plaintive 
piano in “Bluebird St.” – a host of components that add 
further textural elements which enhance the record.

And let us not forget to mention the opener “Diggin’ in the 
Sand”. Musically reminiscent of the carefree folk of Simon 
and Garfunkel, in words and music, it predicts the tone and 
feel of the entire album, and the themes within. And in 
simple terms, to quote the Artist’s lyrics, it indeed 
references the “future and the past”.

‘Josh Rouse and the 
Long Vacations’ is a stellar collection of new recordings. A 
set of songs, both thoughtful, melodious, and indeed 
enjoyable. An album that is likely to bring a summery feel 
to any time of the year. It is an album of great feeling and 
unity, encapsulating a full moon of ideas and ideals. Ideas 
and ideals that are fashioned, and continue to inhabit, the 
past, the present, and the future.

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