Off The Record :: Josh Rouse (Valencia, Spain)


Off The Record is a new, recurring, feature here on the Drunkard that will marry two of my greatest interests; music and travel. Having a locals perspective when visiting a new locale is the difference between experiencing it through the lens of a tourist and of that of a native. Off The Record gathers some of my favorite artists, asks them to reflect on their city of residence, and choose a handful of places they could not live without, be them bookstores, bars, or vistas.

Our inaugural Off The Record guest is one of my favorite contemporary singer-songwriters, Josh Rouse. Having lived in Nashville, TN prior to the beginning of his music career, in the mid ’90s, Rouse has since made Spain his home for the past couple of years, soaking up both the experience and the culture. With his new album, Country Mouse, City House, out in the states at the end of the month, Rouse had a moment to candidly share some of is favorite spots in his adopted hometown of Valencia, Spain. We’re sold.

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Well, I’ve spent 2 years in Valencia, Spain which is located about 3 to 4 hours (drive) south of Barcelona on the Mediterranean. Here are 5 great things about Valencia and Spain in general.

1) The Mediterranean coast is incredibly beautiful. When I first moved to Spain I went to the beach and swam in the sea everyday. Now I’m a bit more casual about it but it’s still where I go a few days a week during the summer months. My favorite spot is Benicasim, which is about 45 min north of Valencia. It’s a little beach town that’s pretty mellow except for July when they have a huge international rock fest that brings in about 100,000 people. There’s a few bars right on the beach that have DJ’s playing great music. I might add that the beaches in Spain (depending where you go) are about 50% topless!!!!!

2) Paella is a rice dish cooked in a large flat pan called a “paella”. It’s usually done with seafood( mussels, shrimp, calamari), or with rabbit and chicken. I love both of them. It’s a dish that’s from Valencia but you can get it all over Spain (better in Valencia though). It’s usually yellow in color with a few cloves of garlic thrown in as well as a few lima beans. There’s an optional mayo type thing you can mix in called alioli (garlic and olive oil whipped together). Always best when eaten by the beach!!!

3) The siesta. After spending a hard day swimming in the sea and eating paella, I need my nap. It didn’t take me long to get used to this idea. Lunch is served from 2 until 4 normally, then everything and everyone is dead until 5 or 5:30. The shops open back up and things liven up until about 10. After that you have a small dinner and go to a bar until 4 or 5 in the morning!!!

4) The nightlife in Valencia is quite lively. The Spanish like to have a good time.There’s 2 or 3 sections of the city that have quite a few bars/clubs, and thousands of people in the streets. The most most happening area is called “EL Carmen” lotsa tourists there. The best place to see indie bands is El Loco club or Wah Wah. It’s surprising that these places are open until really late, yet you never see alot of people trashed. The people in Spain are generally really well behaved!

5) Castellano is the language most people speak in Spain. Don’t call it espanol or the Spanish get a little edgy. Reason being that “espanol” came from castellano. It sounds best when the “c” is pronounced with a “th” type lisp. This is something that I had to master right away. It’s a beautiful language that takes a good 5 to 7 years to master. I’ve got about 3 left!!!!

* * * * Look for Rouse’s new LP, Country Mouse, City House, to hit retail July 31st. In the meantime, listen to “Pilgrim” off the album below. It’s Jazz-cool.

Josh Rouse :: Pilgrim (NEW)
MP3: Josh Rouse :: Straight To Hell (clash cover, highly recc’d)
Pre-order: Josh Rouse – Country Mouse, City House ++ ++ emusic

+ Download Josh Rouse via eMusic’s 25 free MP3 no risk trial offer
+ Visit The Hype Machine for additional Josh Rouse MP3s

15 thoughts on “Off The Record :: Josh Rouse (Valencia, Spain)

  1. Justin, this feature made my heart skip a beat, I’m not even kidding. What a FANTASTIC idea that i wish I’d thought of. :))))

    GOOD WORK. Thank you for this, I look forward to future installments.

  2. Nice post. I like the album Nashville very much (My Love Has Gone!). The latest was a disappointment. The song with his girlfriend was the weakest IMHO. I’m looking forward to his newest release. I like the song named Sweetie.

  3. great little feature you have here Justin. When I talked to him in Vancouver, all he could talk about was how much he loved living in Spain. After reading this, it’s easy to see why.

  4. In my opinion, the music has suffered since he moved to Spain. But in the big picture, the important thing is that he’s personally happy. “Nashville” and “1972” don’t disappear forever just because “Subtitulo” and “Country Mouse” are weaker.

  5. Country Mouse, City House is a poor album, even weaker than Subtitulo (at least it had a few great tracks like Quiet Town and Jersey Clowns). The new one has nothing at all that stands out. However, Josh should be pleased enough that he’s made a pop-rock classic – Nashville. I still listen to that album all the time. Not a weak track on it.

    Oh, and great feature!

  6. Terrific post! Here’s to hoping CM, CH is better than Josh’s last few records, which I haven’t enjoyed nearly as much as all of them up to 1972. Love the “Straight To Hell” cover too

  7. “Under Cold Blue Stars” is the masterpiece for me – every track is a keeper, the sequencing is flawless, the concept and the vibe are spot on. “Nashville” is a close second to me, but will never pass UCBS because of “Why Won’t You Tell Me What”. Regardless of what you think of the song (I don’t like it at all), it disrupts the mood and flow of the album. Minus that track, it’s as good or better than UCBS. But because of it, UCBS stays in the #1 slot.

    And 1972 – I don’t really care for that at all. It feels phony to me – it feels like a bit, a gimmick taken too far. It’s not half as sincere or believeable everything else in his catalogue.

  8. Hopper, I’m with you for the most part. UCBS is probably my favorite as well, though I’m big on his early work in general (Dressed Up Like Nebraska and Home). There are a few songs on 1972 that always rubbed me as weird (and sort of a put-on, like you said) but the last section of the record – “Flight Attendant,” “Sparrows over Birmingham” and “Rise” – is just brilliant.

    So far, sadly, from what I’ve heard off of CM,CH, it’s not going to be a record I’m going to love with as much fervor as his earlier ones.

  9. “It’s a little beach town that’s pretty mellow except for July when they have a huge international rock fest that brings in about 100,000 people.”

    It must be a unique experience to be on the inside of such an experience. Seeing a wave of people taking over your area then vanishing.

  10. I know what that’s like, Chris. I grew up 5 or so miles from Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina, so for two weeks every spring, during the major Nextel Cup (formerly the Winston) and Coca Cola 600 NASCAR races, my town of about 40-50k becomes a nightmare of traffic and an additional town or more size of people. It’s not very pleasant. I’d vastly prefer a music festival.

  11. Stephen – utterly bewildered how you can say Country Mouse City House is poor and has nothing outstanding on it while hailing Nashville as a classic without a weak track. For a lover of his back catalogue (and any discerning listener) CMCH has songs right up there Rouse’s best ever work – “Sweetie”, “Snowy”, “Italian Dry Ice”, “Pilgrim” and “God Please Let Me Go Back” are dollops of poprock genius. Really, give it another listen.

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