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Josh Rouse adapts to pop music middle age

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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After 17 years of recording, Josh Rouse is coming to grips with the current stature of his career.

As he started working on his new album, "The Embers of Time," the Nebraska-born singer-songwriter says he was "writing some songs and they all kind of had this mid-life theme to them. I'm not 25 anymore. The music business and the entertainment business is tough to age in, 'cause you're not new and ot really old and cool. There's just this desert in the middle you've got to get through."

Rouse, 43, also calls "The Embers of Time" "a surreal expat therapy record," dealing not only with age but with life as an expatriate. He's been living in Valencia, Spain, for the past six years; his wife is a native, and they moved when she became pregnant with their first child (the couple now has two, ages six and three). Rouse keeps a storage facility in the U.S. and still tours here frequently, and he says a move back is not out of the question.

"We always kind of talk about coming back, and it's, 'OK, so where are we gonna go?'" he explains. "In all the great cities, the cost of living is just incredible, and maybe they're not the best places to have kids. The great thing about growing up in the MIdwest is having all that open space, but the drag is all the conservative, right-wing zombies walking down the street. I don't want to live in those places, either.

"So we've got to find these places that have the town feel, but the people living in the town, or the majority of them, are at least educated." Nashville, where he once resided, is an odds-on favorite should the Rouses make the move, he says.

Meanwhile, Rouse is happy to report that while fatherhood has cut down on the time he's able to spend with music, he's also become more prolific. "Before it was my time and I could work on something whenever I wanted to," he explains. "Now it's a quick voice memo and, 'OK, I'll get back to that. I've got to pick the kids up at school...'

"But that hasn't been a bad thing. I'm actually writing more than I ever have, and if I do have an idea it's something I can go back to and really listen to with a fresh set of ears and really knock it out. I don't know if they're as good as my others songs, but I get more done now, so that feels good."

Josh Rouse and Walter Martin

Tuesday, June 9. Doors open at 8 p.m.

The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.

Tickets are $20.

Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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