There are many turns along the journey of a heart breaking, mending and thriving again. Moments of sorrow, bareness, determination, courage, risk, restraint, and resilience. When acceptance finally appears, we arrive at what is and always would be a Natural Conclusion.
On her new album, Natural Conclusion, Rose Cousins steps boldly forward, a fully mature writer and artist in her next great stride. Cousins took a deliberate break from her active touring schedule and traveled to create – Toronto, Los Angeles, Boston, Nashville, Ireland. Her goal was to connect with artists, writers, and producers to make songs in new ways, new sounds with new people, not knowing where they would go and not needing to. Her catalogue and perspective expanded.
“It is liberating to spend a year making music that isn’t billed for me as an artist,” says Cousins. “Some for film, TV, or even for someone else to sing. Freeing to walk into a room as a writer. To wake up, have a morning, meet people, make something that didn’t exist and get to bed at a decent time. Read more books. Creating feels like a good use of my time and this is the first time I’ve ever allowed it to be my focus, counterintuitive considering songs are what my career is built on. Songs and photographs have always explained better, what I mean and how I feel.”
Natural Conclusion was conceived during that period, with first single and album opener “Chosen”leading the way. “I was having a solo introspective morning, attempting to sort a particular feeling. Looking for inner confidence and reassurance to move forward with what I’d set out to do personally and professionally. I think it’s hard to be alive without accepting there are always questions in the passenger seat. We wish but can’t ever know for sure how things will work out and that can feel uncomfortable and risky. The song reflects an honest and raw moment from inside this questioning and was the spark that made me think I could make another record.”
Due out on February 3, Cousins enlisted Grammy Award winning producer Joe Henry for the recording of Natural Conclusion. “Joe is a poet, a thoughtful, contemplative writer,” says Cousins. “That poetry and thoughtfulness transfers to his approach in production. It’s about the right life for the song and the right musicians to make that happen.” She and Henry each gathered trusted colleagues and met in Toronto. Henry brought longtime collaborators from Los Angeles; Engineer Ryan Freeland, drummer Jay Bellerose, and bassist David Piltch, who collectively worked on many notable projects (Bonnie Raitt, Solomon Burke, Allen Toussaint, Billy Bragg).
Cousins invited Toronto pianist Aaron Davis (Holly Cole, Jane Siberry) and guitar player Gord Tough (Kathleen Edwards, Sarah Harmer); touring mates Asa Brosius (Anais Mitchell, Heavy Blinkers) from Halifax on pedal/lap steel and dobro, and Zachariah Hickman (Josh Ritter, Ray Lamontagne) from Boston on bass; friend and fellow PEIslander violin/violist Kinley Dowling (Hey Rosetta!) added strings and joined the choir that also included Hickman and longtime friends Jill Barber, Caroline Brookes (Good Lovelies), and Miranda Mullholland (Great Lake Swimmers).
“My goal was to be wide open emotionally,” says Cousins. “This band created a space for me to rise as a musician yet let me lead. Ultimately this is a record of performances, the moment, raw, vulnerable and real. I suppose not unlike the subject matter within.” The result is what Cousins calls “the most honest and vulnerable thing” she has made to date.