Yep Roc Records labelmates Josh Rouse and Grant-Lee Phillips set off a co-headline tour this fall. Touring together for the first time, the acclaimed singer/songwriters are hitting the road in support of their newest albums, Rouse’s Love in the Modern Ageand Phillips’ Widdershins.
“I’ve admired Josh Rouse’s music for a long while, “ says Phillips, “I love that he’s always taking his songs to new places, making new discoveries. On a road-trip like this, you find yourselves sharing notes, bouncing ideas off each other, trading guitar chords, keeping each other awake on the highway. It’s a full-on mobile summit.“
Adds Rouse, “I have admired Grant since my early 20’s. When Mighty Joe Moon came out my friends and I thought it was the best record we’d ever heard. I actually sent fan mail! So sharing the stage with him will be a dream come true.”
Capturing the aesthetics of a specific moment in time, Rouse’s Love in the Modern Age takes inspiration from the sound and production of early 1980's releases by The Blue Nile, The Style Council and Prefab Sprout. Trading in his trusty acoustic guitar for a synthesizer, Love in the Modern Age still bears Rouse's distinct fingerprints even as it pushes his limits and forges a bold new chapter more than twenty years into his celebrated career.
Inspired by “the things that eat away in the late hours,” Phillips invests the insight, nuance and wit in a riveting dissection of today’s fraught social landscape. “I made a commitment to myself not to sink into despair,” explains Phillips, who sees in Widdershins a connection to his earliest work with Grant Lee Buffalo. “That was also a time of intense social anxiety. The Gulf War, the LA riots – everything became cranked up. Then a few years later there was the earthquake we lived through, which also made for a time of uneasiness. I was in a heightened state when I wrote that stuff – as I am now.”
Solidified as one of his generation's most acclaimed songwriters in both the US and Europe, where he's lived on and off since 2004, Rouse recently returned to Nashville, TN. Spending the better part of a year touring behind his critically acclaimed eleventh album, The Embers of Time, Rouse was ready for a change. "Coming off such a heavy record, I wanted to try something different," he explains. "I wanted to explore new sounds and write with a fresh backdrop.
Hailed by Mother Jones as “criminally underappreciated,” the California-born Phillips –singer, songwriter, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, actor, film composer and visual artist – began his career in the early ‘90s as the frontman of the acclaimed trio Grant-Lee Buffalo. Once named “male vocalist of the year” by Rolling Stone, USA Today called him a “soulful balladeer” while Uncut hailed him as a “distinguished U.S. songwriter.”