Two Sides of Nashville

For some reason, Josh Rouse's Nashville and Solomon Burke's record by the same title are arranged one song per artist after another in my iTunes. When I first noticed this strange sequencing I was a bit pissed. But over the past two days, I've played both albums as iTunes arranged them. Simply wonderful.

Rouse's farewell record to his hometown, released in 2005, is a beautiful tip-of-the-hat to a life that he's left behind, but couldn't step away from without recognizing all that the city and his relationships meant to him. "Sad Eyes," one of the most heartbreaking songs in recent memory, shows hope in even the most broken of relationships. "Streetlights," is the ultimate proof that Rouse is one of the finest songwriters of the decade. "I called you up, cause I felt so guilty, ended up, it was not such a pretty scene, let’s dump the ashtray, wipe the table clean" is a line certain to hit many. It's a record just bleeding in personal transition, reflection and understanding.

Burke's Nashville, released one year later, is a stunning collection of covers, highlighted by Tom T. Hall's "That's How I Got To Memphis," two Gillan Welch-penned tunes and backed and joined by some of the greatest musicians around, including Gary Tallent, Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris and Brady Blade. Putting these individuals behind and alongside Solomon Burke, who nearing the age 70, still has one of the most powerful voices in soul, was certain to deliver.

If you have both of these records in your iTunes and they've been arranged like mine, well, I strongly suggest you give a full listen. Rouse and Burke complimenting each other so well. I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise.