Josh Rouse has always been pretty prolific but it seems that lockdown proved a particularly fertile period for the Nebraskan songwriter. Following one of the most delightful Christmas albums of recent years (The Holiday Sounds Of Josh Rouse), it led to last year’s electronic gem The Mediterranean Gardener under the Isla moniker, a natural diversion after the synth-based sheen of his last LP proper – 2018’s Love In The Modern Age.
Going Places was, out of necessity, recorded in Rouse’s adopted homeland of Spain, ironically titled at a time when travel was virtually impossible but sparked by his desire to play live again. Not dissimilar to 2006’s Subtitulo, also made in Spain, it’s classic Rouse – guitars, bass, drums and horns – set up for a live setting.
Rouse’s knack for a hummable melody shines through these ten tracks which, even when he’s singing about “the melancholy life of a writer” (‘Henry Miller’s Flat’) can’t help but lift the spirit and set toes tapping. Maybe not as introspective as 2015’s therapy-influenced Embers Of Time, songs like ‘Hollow Moon’ and ‘Waiting On The Blue’ are still achingly wistful and stand alongside his best material.
Formerly citing The Smiths and The Cure as influences, it seems Rouse is increasingly comfortable in JJ Cale and Buddy Holly territory, even invoking the Traveling Wilburys on the jaunty ‘The Lonely Postman’. Regardless, with each album he continues to gently nudge his Americana credentials higher and higher, ‘Going Places’ another 32 minutes of balm for the journey.