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First Play Live: Rose Cousins, Natural Conclusion

Reuben Maan

Rose Cousins and her band strode into CBC Music with a mix of confidence, humour and friendliness that immediately set the tone for a terrific day of recording. The whole team blew us away with its professionalism, dedication and preparation. So of course, with such a high level of commitment, it's no wonder that the music is fantastic.

You can still feel the pain of Cousins's heartbreak in many songs on this new album of hers, out Feb. 3, despite the time that has passed and the Natural Conclusion to the cycle of grief. Cousins is reluctant to explain the specific inspirations for her songs, but the universality of her lyrics allow listeners to see themselves in any of them. Is "Lock and Key" a melancholic love song, or two objects that will not find each other? "Love is the cure and the disease," Cousins sings truthfully and plaintively. On "Chosen," Cousins confronts self doubt and the inevitable fallibility we all wrestle with in our relationships. "Chains" is the one rocker on the album, Cousins's successful attempt to write a swampy groove.

You can hear the level of emotional sensitivity in each member of her band, all of them brilliant players who never have a shortage of work, even when not playing with Cousins. Josh Van Tassel adds brushes and shakers to the usual sticks and skins combo. Asa Brosius coaxes the tears from his pedal steel, Dean Drouillard slides in the guitar licks and Zachariah Hickman takes a break from his usual duty with Ray LaMontagne and Josh Ritter to pluck and bow the bass. And the multi-talented Miranda Mulholland and Caroline Brooks add vocals on "Chosen" and "Grace." Watch the videos below:

And here is the Youtube playlist:

More to explore:

First Play Live: Alejandra Ribera, This Island

First Play Live: Austra, Future Politics

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