Until this week I hadn’t listened to Kurt Wagner’s collaborative EP with Josh Rouse, Chester, all the way through in a couple of years. I’m happy to report it holds up extremely well seven years after it’s initial release. This five song mini-album works on multiple fronts: It benefits from Wagner’s (of Lambchop) unique brand of storytelling and Rouse’s faint distinctive croon, also serving as a fine introduction to Wagner’s style which, while in my opinion fantastic, can throw novice listeners off at first exposure. With Wagner penning the lyrics and Rouse handling the vocal duties the the end result is both easy to digest and satisfying after repeated listens. A combination that is no small feat.

A follow up of sorts to Rouse’s downbeat and excellent debut, Dressed Up Like Nebraska, the EP married these two, at the time of the recording, Nashville based Americana storytellers. Upon subsequent albums Rouse would move away from such sad-bastard leanings in favor of upbeat pop, but here we still have him in all his would-be miserable glory. It’s damn good, too. While I’m told the EP is becoming harder to find through retail, it is available online via various digital distributors, including eMusic.

In 2006 Lambchop released the devastatingly beautiful album Damaged as well as a tour of the U.S. this past Fall, which was a rare treat. Josh Rouse toured behind his latest release, the Pop laden Substitulo, and continues to reside in Spain with a brief U.S. tour planned for early 2007.

Elsewhere: Fuel-Friends featured the track “65” from the Chester EP back in October, here.

MP3: Chester :: That’s What I Know
MP3: Chester :: Table Dance
Amazon: Kurt Wagner/Josh Rouse – Chester
www.lambchop.net ++ www.joshrouse.com

+ Chester available through eMusic’s 25 Free MP3 offer.
+ Visit The Hype Machine for additional MP3s.

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