DECEMBER: Winter warmth

Slightly late brothers, but the December album is Josh Rouse – Nashville. It came out in 2005, and I got alerted to it by my girlfriend at the time. It was something I’d have never really gone for without guidance, but don’t be fooled by the title, despite the odd steel guitar, it’s not a country album. It’s just a pitch-perfect slice of songwriting that tugs at the heartstrings. It grows with each listen, and it’s written distinctly with vinyl in mind, even when I had the CD it was listed as ‘side A/B’.

It had some emotional resonance with me, as it straddled the breakup of the relationship that brought it to me at the time, but that’s years in the past, and its effect hasn’t lessened, even though the association to that time’s now in the distant past. It’s also something I’d go – knowing the Brothers’ cd collections (and how hard it was to select something outside them) – as far as to say may just not fit for you, but if it does, it’ll be worth it. That’s the risk with new music. 99% of the albums I like, one of us has, so this is something different (it was between this and a Ben Folds Five album, but I chose this as it was more rewarding in the long term for me).

It sounds pretty timeless. It could’ve been made in 1975, or 1995, and it’s rare to find a modern album like that that hasn’t aged at all. I saw him perform it live in 2005, and it was just as powerful.

So, listen, digest, critique, and lay it all back on me. Only a cold soul could fail to be moved by Sad Eyes. An absolutely heartbreaking record.

Here’s one of the album’s lighter moments, My Love Has Gone.

8 comments

  1. misterstory

    Thanks for the CD Guy. Much appreciated. I’ve been through it a few times now but it still very much early days and my early responses to previous months albums has not been accurate so I won’t say too much.My first reactions are that it is quite easy to get into. Its very accessible. My wife really likes it and has asked for it on a few times which is always nice too :)I’ll keep listening and write more. I haven’t had much time with it alone and not working so I will do so soon.

  2. David Allison

    Hi Guy,I’ve given our Josh a good few times round the block and it’s very pleasant and obviously well-written, but I have to be honest: it’s just not my bag. There’s something rather polite about the arrangements and his vocal delivery. There’s some lovely influences in there – early Elton John, early Billy Joel, Carole King – and as you say, it certainly has a timeless quality. But I long for him to hurl himself into his songs and his delivery a little bit harder. A bit of grit in the ointment wouldn’t go amiss.However, it might just be me. A lot of people like this album and I’ve had it recommended to me many times by different folk. But he’s not lighting my fire, I’m afraid.

  3. Guy Hornsby

    Thank you brothers. I’d agree it’s pretty vanilla, but then music doesn’t have to tear itself up to be heartfelt. I think for me, it’s so accessible, but what I loved about the album was that once I’d got into it, it resonated so much to how I felt at the time. That’s what albums that get in your head do. I was introduced to it at the time (2006) by my girlfriend, who wrote for Q, and we went to see him at the Kentish Town Forum. It was a wonderful gig, and at the time I was in a very happy phase, so enjoyed the music for its melody, and its beauty. We broke up the next year and it took on a wholly different meaning for me, which was obviously pretty bleak! It’s funny how music can mould itself to your emotions. Sad Eyes is one of the most heartbreaking records I’ve ever listened to. I think for me it’s very much a slice of a 2 year period of my life, but it’s an album that – when I’ve tweeted about it, for instance – so many others have listened to it, it’s an unsung gem. But you can’t please all the people all of the time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. David Allison

    Ah, there’s nothing like emotional turmoil to make an album take on a different hue. So quite understand why it has a personal connection for you.And there’s another whole discussion. Which records do you turn to in difficult times? Me, there’s two that I rely on. One is Abbey Road. The other is Beck’s Sea Change. If you don’t know the latter, it may be my next suggestion…

  5. Guy Hornsby

    Indeed Brother David. There is a long thread we could do on this alone. Among those that I return to are: * Abbey Road (snap!)* Bon Iver – Forever Emma Ago* Fleetwood Mac – Rumours* Pulp – Different Class* LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver* Paul Simon – Graceland* Pretty much everything by Radiohead.

  6. misterstory

    Hi GuysSimilar feelings on the album for me. I trend towards more ‘out there’ displays of emotion so this album was always going to feel ‘safe’ for me. That is not as much of a diss as it sounds though. And of course, one man’s ‘safe’ is another man’s floor … or am i mixing my metaophors?My wife however really likes the album and it does have a place in my collection now.As for records I turn to in difficult times … I have two sections here (i) albums that allow me to wallow in self pitty and sadness (ii) old school roots reggae to pick me up. The first section is dominated by Willy Mason, Micah P Hinson, Old Springsteen stuff, Deerhunter, and a bolt load of shoegaze. The second section – A great Trojan Roots Greatest Hits that was 99p from Asda.

  7. Nolan Kane

    Brothers. I must admit that I’m relieved at your reactions as I have given this a fair few listens and I feel very much the same as you. There is nothing wrong at all with this album, in fact its pretty good… but it’s a bit sugar coated for me. I approached this from two angles; first from a personal and then from the aspect that Guy came from. I can fully see where Guy is coming from on this and why he likes it. The stand out on this album is Sad Eyes. I like it…. Though it comes across to me as something you’d hear when a guy has been binned off and he falls off the rails in a rom com. All in all I’m glad I gave this a go, and do think that I will keep at it as I think it still has some potential to grow on me.

  8. Guy Hornsby

    Sad Eyes is brilliant. I’d puke if they put it on a romcom. It’s above that. But cheers for all giving it a listen. I expected it not to be your (collective) usual stuff, but it’s good you did it. And it sounds like your other halves like it more than you do ๐Ÿ˜‰

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