Maha: Josh Rouse lulls us with soft songs

Nebraska native Josh Rouse plays Maha. (Photo by Chris Machian/The World-Herald)

A Nebraska native now living in Spain, Josh Rouse takes a mellow approach to music. His set seemed even more mellow since he played immediately after Universe Contest’s loud rock-out.

A singer-songwriter in the vein of Jack Johnson or Jason Mraz, Rouse is super-popular in Europe. Why he’s not so famous here, I’m not sure. He’s at least as talented as those guys, if not more.

Anyway, Maha was Rouse’s first-ever show in Nebraska, he said. Dressed up in Wayfarers and a fedora, he played his first song from his debut album, “DressedUp Like Nebraska,” which is probably my favorite of his tunes. He dedicated the song to his family, some of which formed a cheering section near the stage.

He led singalongs during the mellow set and talked about growing up in small town Nebraska as well as how he has now settled in a small town in Spain before playing “Quiet Town.”

His second-to-last tune was “I Will Live On Islands,” one of his best songs and definitely his most uptempo song, which got some people up and dancing.

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