Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Danny Reisch at Good Danny's, Austin, Texas
There are those days when you're feeling better than others, ones where you're struck by all that you've got. It just dawns on you and you take that inventory that you weren't planning on taking at that given moment. There are all kinds of triggers for such a thing, and not all of them are good. Something sad and depressing can do the trick, when perspective's in order, when you're suddenly hit with the realization that your glass is really way more than half-full and not cracked down the side and partially across the bottom, producing a slow leak that will never get any slower. You can be in whatever mood you happen to be in and things can come into the light a little more and you're able to drink it in and take comfort in all of the subtle pertinence, along with all of the uncontrollable aspects that claim so many good men. You've got a certain amount of the good life cornered, if you're just willing to admit it.
Josh Rouse, a Nebraska-bred, Tennessee-dwelling songwriter, tells his tales in a way that feels like a warm call from a love, some tender human touch that you'd not been aware that you were craving, but here you are absorbing it, hungry no longer. There's some longing flopping restlessly around on the sofa and on the bed behind the people in the songs on Rouse's beautiful new album, "The Happiness Waltz," but it's able to be shoved mostly into the background, where it can linger quietly. There's sadness there, but it's minor. It's understood that this is a slow dance - a predominantly mundane one - but there are all kinds of flourishes that appear and light the sky, turning on the dimples, along with exposing all of the soft, beautiful contours.
Rouse writes about getting some advice from an old-timer, being told to live every day like it's the last one. There's nothing new in that thought, but he goes on to say, "It's all in the air/It's a lot like magic," with the insinuation that one never knows when it's all going to be revealed, or when we get to peek at the blueprints of the finished product. He sings, "Something's about to happen," and it doesn't sound like a wish or a prayerful thoughts, but one of certainty, as if there were no doubt. If you can believe in all that magic in the air, it's easier to swallow destiny, whatever it's going to be.
Josh Rouse Official Site
Yep Roc Records