Rose Cousins is glowing. Sipping on a coffee one wet Halifax morning, her bright eyes---despite the early hour---and warm smile tell the story of her last three years as a full-time musician, even before she opens her mouth to speak.
"Since I've released my last CD I almost feel like the three years has been a university degree in how to be a working musician," she says. While being on the road and self-promoting had its lows, nothing about Cousins' outlook suggests anything but forward momentum.
Cousins' second full-length album, The Send Off, is what marks the maturity of the local musician's journey. Cousins' gorgeous voice fills each track with a sense of longing that will likely have you sitting on the floor crying.
"I've always been a fan of music that evokes some kind of emotion," says Cousins, explaining she's not in a sad place performing her newest work. "The Send Off is about letting go; all the things you try to let go of or you don't let go of, and how easy it makes things if you do and how hard it is to do it." Cousins adds that she feels you have to let some things go in order to move forward; this album is her step forward.
The title track is what started Cousins' road to letting go, a song that says goodbye to Grandma Cousins.
"She was the first person I lost that had been in my life for, well, ever. For all of my ever so far," says Cousins. The slow, almost haunting song evolves into a more produced and fuller sound, suggesting a celebration of life instead of a focus on death.
It's not all sad reflection. Cousins wrote the song "Celebrate" for her best friend's wedding, a catchy tune that ends each sentence with a rhyme for "celebrate." While the lyrics include words such as "fish bait" and "uncomplicate," Cousins admitted at a Deep Roots Festival performance that not all the rhymes were PG. She left those ones out.
Cousins' album isn't only about letting go; it's also strongly rooted in collaboration. Luke Doucet produced The Send Off, a detail Cousins can't be more excited about. "We were having a beer one night after one of the shows in Toronto and he just said, 'I'd really love to produce something of yours someday,'" says Cousins. "I was throwing up in my mouth I was so flattered."
Local musicians such as David Myles, Don Brownrigg and Jenn Grant can be heard on the album, as well as Tom Wilson (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings), Melissa McLelland and Kathleen Edwards from Ontario, where the CD was recorded.
"My favourite thing is collaborating with people," says Cousins. "I get overwhelmed with the amazingness of people helping me."
With the strength of her newest album, it sounds like Cousins is going to be overwhelmed with amazingness for a long time coming.