It’s been a minute since we’ve had new music from Rose Cousins — five years since the Canadian singer-songwriter’s Juno Award-winning We Have Made A Spark. But Cousins is confident her new Natural Conclusion, which comes out Feb. 3, benefits for that time.
“I wanted to slow down a little bit,” Cousins, who did release an EP in 2014, tells Billboard. “All the touring I did behind the last record kicked my ass. I really needed to slow down a little bit.” And Cousins used that time to extensively explore co-writing collaborations, working on the Kickstarter-funded Natural Conclusion‘s 12 tracks with Mark Erelli, Ryan Roberts, K.S. Rhoads and others. Watch the exclusive premiere of a video from Natural Conclusion, “Chains,” below.
“I have always been intimidated by walking in a room with somebody I don’t know or people I don’t know and making songs. I think I always worried I would be too slow or wouldn’t come up with good ideas,” Cousins explains. “I’ve never been able to be someone who’s extremely creative on the road in the sense of writing songs, though I’m always gathering ideas. So with these very deliberated, scheduled-in writing sessions I think I finally debunked it as this terrifying thing, and it felt really good. It actually took more pressure off than it put on, I think.”
Cousins wrote “Chains” in Nashville with Andrew Combs and Jeff Bowman. “The brief was everything has gone to shit and swampy, so it’s real bluesy and dark,” Cousins says. “That was really a great writing session.” The video, meanwhile, was shot at Lever’s Lake in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, directed by Nathan Boone from a script by Cousin’s friend and local filmmaker Mat Barkley. “[Boone] came up with this great idea of two people tethered to each other somehow, walking through a woods, and he had this beautiful area that he had access to that was attached to his family somehow,” Cousins says. “It was really exciting to me that these are two local, young filmmakers and they gathered their friends to be in it and to help out and made it really beautiful.”
Producer Joe Henry had his own role in making Natural Conclusion special for Cousins. The two have been friends since meeting at a Canadian festival during 2012, and the idea of having him helm an album for Cousins has been tacitly considered ever since.
“I really think we vibe on the aesthetic presentation of music, and the poetry,” says Cousins, who hits the road Feb. 8 to promote the album. “I love his music so much and the production ideas and choices he’s made on his own projects. He really believes in the taking care of the song. My stuff isn’t necessarily straightforward, and I thought if there’s anyone who would be able to maintain what I created and enhance it and not try to straighten it out, it would be him.”