Nashville largely mines the same soft-rock territory as 1972, and the country elements that the title implies come from Al Perkins’ pedal steel. These songs are much more serious and autobiographical than the festive atmosphere of 1972, reflecting on the dissolution of Rouse’s marriage and his relocation away from Nashville. Songs like ‘My Love Has Gone’ and ’Why Won’t You Tell Me What’ are straightforward and unambiguous, and obviously come straight out of Rouse’s own experience.
‘Sad Eyes’ dives straight into orchestrated piano ballad territory, and it’s the best song on the disc, especially the climax where the bouncy bridge is overlaid with the chorus. The guitar on the driving ‘Winter In The Hamptons’ could have come straight from a Smiths album, while ‘Why Won’t You Tell Me What’ is a bluesy vamp. The second tier material like ‘It’s The Nighttime’, ‘Carolina’, and ‘Saturday’ is all memorable and infused with Rouse’s pop sense, and this consistency is what makes Nashville Rouse’s best album.
In many respects Nashville is an easily digestible collection of light pop songs, but there’s more than enough emotional weight to give it substance.