Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Under Cold Blue Stars
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, Rock
Under Cold Blue Stars, the third album from native Nebraskan Josh Rouse, is full of elegant, melodic pop songs that are deftly understated but carry hooks as catchy as Coldplay's (whose music the opening song, "Twilight," ... more »
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Under Cold Blue Stars, the third album from native Nebraskan Josh Rouse, is full of elegant, melodic pop songs that are deftly understated but carry hooks as catchy as Coldplay's (whose music the opening song, "Twilight," uncannily evokes). This is music for folk in love with Americana and timeless pop; it's a gentle hinterland of melancholy and hope. The loose concept behind Under Cold Blue Stars is that of a fractious couple in the late 1950s, trying to come to terms with their lives and relationship. "Christmas with Jesus" is an unashamedly beautiful realization of their struggles, as is the upbeat title track, which touches on sources as diverse as Nils Lofgren, the Cure, and even Bruce Springsteen (albeit, a Springsteen shorn of all pride and aggrandizement). All this adds up to make Under Cold Blue Stars rather special. --Everett True
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A Rouse-ing Success!
Brian D. Rubendall | Oakton, VA | 12/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Josh Rouse has developed into one of the best American rock songwriters that few people have ever heard of. Tagged as an "Alternative Country" artist because of the slight twang that infected his earlier efforts, Rouse's sound has evolved to become the kind of mainstream rock that was hugely popular back in the 1970's, but is considered progressive and edgy these days. That said, "Under the Cold Blue Stars" is good enough to deserve a Ryan Adams-like breakthrough to mass popularity. Rouse's voice is at times a dead ringer for Admas and his songwriting is much more disciplined.The best track on the album is the single "Miracle," which contains a killer hook and a sweet meoldy. "Feeling no Pain" is another pop rock gem in a similar mode, while "Christmas With Jesus," "Ugly Stories," "Women and Men" and the quiet closing ballad "The Whole Night Through" are also excellent. The album is relatively brief at only 11 tracks, but contains no clunkers.Overall, an outrstanding mainstream rock album that deserves a wider audience."
Superbly Crafted Album!
Ian Creamer | Dublin,Ireland | 02/24/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of those c.d.'s that I really loved from the first minute I heard it.It has a real sense of instant accessibility yet when you give it a few more listens you discover that it is an album of amazing depth. Musically it sounds so much like Lambchop meeting the voice of Ryan Adams-at times the similarities are almost uncanny.Vocally Rouse has that same coarse vocal style of Adams and the background music has the sound I loved so much on Lambchop's Nixon c.d.It came as no surprise when I heard subsequently that Rouse had worked with Kurt Wagner on a previous e.p.Musically it has that alt/country sound but with a little more funky rhythm guitar playing.The tracks have a real laidback sort of cruising feel to them-especially the initial tracks.The second half of the album grows noticeably darker.And this is where I discovered the albums extra hidden depth. Under The Cold Blue Stars is in fact a sort of concept album-as there seems to be a storyline connecting the whole thing together.The album's lyrics tell of a couple who live in small-town America some decades ago.The two main characters a man and a woman seem both very different and this album traces there happiness right through to their ultimate downfall.It sort of explains why the first tracks are so upbeat and the latter half is way darker.The whole mood change occurs exactly halfway through the album with the tale of adultery and betrayal with the track "Ugly Stories"-Rouse sings about how you can never trust anyone.You'd expect this track to be really slow and melancholic,but instead it's a gentle acoustic driven number with wonderful organ sound,it's almost got a resigned sound rather then the sound of complete anger or desperation.Things get even better with the next track "Feeling The Pain"-amazing chorus with a far greater rock feel to it-it would sit comfortably on any Wilco c.d.The following tracks chart the couples fall to ultimate separation.Track 9 "Summer Kitchen Bread" is the saddest track yet-acoustic guitar and the shimmering sound of a cello and some brief string moments-it's the first track where Rouse gives his characters a sound of true resigned desperation,where they look back on better times.It's a pretty harrowing track-but it's very subtle and the heartbreak only becomes truly apparent when you give this c.d. closer attention.The tempo of the closing tracks mirrors the slow death of the relationship by being pretty low-key and much slower in tempo.Finally we get to the story's finale with the sedate "The Whole Night Through" and it's grim death scene.This album closes with a whisper rather then any loud grand finale.It leaves you feeling a bit cold-that is before you go back to the 'cheery' track 1 and start the whole thing over again.On this c.d. not only do you get tracks of great quality,a fascinating storyline but you also find yourself listening to it over and over again!"
Josh does it again...
Brian D. Rubendall | 02/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With "Under Cold Blue Stars" Josh Rouse earns a reason to be labeled one of the best singer/songwriters on the scene today, along with Pete Yorn, John Mayer, and Ryan Adams. Popping up in such movies as "Hamlet" and "Vanilla Sky" Josh is set to finally bust out into the mainstream. On this album, he takes a slightly more "homegrown" and mellancholly approach to his music than "Home". Definitely pick up this CD (if you can find it.) Stand out tracks are "Miracle" and "Feeling No Pain.""