Friday, June 18, 2010

Josh Rouse - El Turista

Josh Rouse is one of my favorite musicians. My favorite album is "Nashville." Get it immediately. It's wonderful and the pedal steel makes me want to weep at the beauty. Seriously. (I have a strong reaction to pedal steel.) So his new album is out, "El Turista." Awhile back, Josh moved to Spain and this album is a mix of Spanish and English. Surprisingly, my favorite songs on the album are the ones in Spanish. Even more surprisingly, I know what he's saying and I can sing along! Crazy!

The album has been reviewed as being a mix of influence between Gilberto and Paul Simon. As for the Gilberto, sure, but that seems to me like the obvious comparison because the second track, "Duerme" (which means "Go to sleep!"), is a bossa nova and pop listeners don't always have the jazz chops to refer to a bossa as anything other than Gilberto-esque. Which is totally fine, but the Gilberto influence is light, I would say. The Paul Simon reference is more concrete, particularly on the song "I Will Live on Islands," which sounds like a mix between "Kodachrome" and half the tracks on "Graceland."

Highlights of the album are "Duerme," a traditional Spanish lullaby reworked by Rouse and his band, and "Valencia," which Rouse sings with a great Spanish accent, including the ceceo (that's the lispy-sounding soft 'c' in Spanish from Spain accents). The other highlight is that my LP of "El Turista" is signed by Josh Rouse! I met him at a record store a few weeks ago, after seeing him play an amazing set with his band.

Whether you speak any Spanish or not, this is a great album and it's perfect for summer, especially if you're near some water. I highly recommend this for your summer playlist.

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