Josh Rouse wishes he had a more intriguing backstory to relate about his upcoming LP, Going Places. Due out July 29 on Yep Roc, Rouse’s 13th studio album is a breezy affair inspired by a series of COVID-induced jam sessions in Valencia, Spain, the country where he lived for years with his wife and two boys.
“A couple friends of mine—we’ll call them my Spanish band—opened a little music venue in Valencia that fits only about 50 people, but it’s very cool,” says Rouse, who has since relocated to Nashville. “I had few tunes I was working on, and I didn’t know what to do with them. So we got together and played them at the club.”
When the world started opening up in 2021, he revisited those songs with his “Spanish band,” along with a few others. The end result is vintage Josh Rouse. Nothing particularly intense, mind you—just feel-good strumming, off-the-cuff hooks and a mildly exotic groove that should translate perfectly to the live setting. Going Places feels nothing like a weighty, fussed-over pandemic release, even if it was recorded amid one.
“It’s bar music,” says Rouse. “My version of pub rock. I wanted the songs to be easy and basic—mid-tempo and melancholy, but catchy.”
In the video for “She’s In L.A.,” Rouse wears a lot of hats—and all of them are apparently his. “I’m a man who wears many hats,” Rouse says bluntly.
The inspiration for the song stretches back almost 30 years. “In June of 1993, I dropped out of college, planning on a move to Los Angeles to start a band with a few friends,” says Rouse. “I went to South Dakota for a few months to save up some money while living with my family. In late July, my bandmates decided not to go to L.A. I moved to Tempe, Ariz., interning in a recording studio on an impulsive whim. While it proved to be a fruitful adventure, I moved back to Tennessee and re-enrolled in college six months later. I often wonder what would’ve happened had I gone to L.A.”
Rouse celebrated his 50th birthday in March. But aside from a few offhand references to domestic life and packing on the pounds, he’s not whining about it on Going Places. “The title is kind of tongue-in-cheek because of what was going on in the world—and my age,” he says. “I wasn’t really challenging myself, but I didn’t really feel like I wanted to challenge myself. There were enough challenges in the rest of the world. It’s a comfort record.”
We are proud to premiere the video for “She’s In L.A.” today at MAGNET.