Singer-songwriter Rose Cousins, with personal and musical connections to PEI, Halifax and now Boston, will release her third album We Have Made a Spark February 28th. Cousins has also produced a short film, If I Should Fall Behind, featuring the Boston community of musicians and friends she recorded her album with. Arts East recently spoke with the ECMA/Music PEI/Canadian Folk Music Award winner about her collaboration with place, people and passion to create Spark.
AE: Congratulations on your upcoming album We Have Made a Spark! What does this album mean to you?RC: Thanks! This album was made with good friends in Boston. I feel really connected to this project because I know and chose everyone who sings and plays on it. It’s a great reflection of this great community I’ve become a part of in Boston. It’s the sound of what it’s like to make music with this gang.
AE: How is this album different from your other two?RC: Each record carries something from the last but introduces new elements. My first record I was really into bluegrass instrumentation. My second, Luke Doucet’s guitar playing created the moodiness I was into in the music I was influenced by at the time. This record has got a bit of an Americana feel in parts, and feels cinematic in others. It’s different simply because the cast is different and because I keep growing . I think it’s really musical.
AE: I’m intrigued by your song writing locations – especially the cabin on a New Hampshire Island! What were the living and creative conditions like?RC: There is a main cabin where we eat and gather each night to share songs but I slept and wrote in a very small cabin, with a small deck, rickety rocking chair & kerosene lamp. The lack of cell and internet service is so relieving. Allows my creative brain to kick in and the details part to take a nap. I spent time at my cabin writing, reading. I would walk around the island or go swimming. The main cabin has 2 pianos and we all usually bring misc instruments which we share and pass around. It’s a truly inspiring place to be. The same gang I made my record with, we’re all going back again this June.
AE: Is there a defining theme to this latest album?RC: It’s about facing demons. The years after making my last record were tough and I realized I was creating/perpetuating some difficult situations. My attempt at a journey through the junk and facing the demons is the gravel on this record. It has dark, light, hope, struggle, insight.
AE: What inspired you to make the short film If I Should Fall Behind?RC: It was a last minute decision. I had wanted to make a record with these friends for a while and without knowing exactly what would happen with the footage after, just went for it. As we were filming, the story sort of revealed itself - just how special the community is. It’s something I feel each time I go to Boston and play. I have learned so much from my friends there. It truly is unique and incredibly collaborative.
AE: What were some of the highlights from 2011 (besides recording your album)?RC: I got to open for one of my heroes – Shawn Colvin in December in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was a great night. Yes and of course making the record and the film, which kicked my ass. I don’t know if I’ve ever worked so hard. Also my sister had a baby boy!
AE: Are you psyched about performing at the ECMAs?RC: I’m always happy to be a part of the ECMA’s. I’m mostly excited to showcase the new songs and start my Maritime release tour immediately after!
AE: If you could perform/record/write another genre of music you’ve never done before, what genre would that be?RC: I’ve always wanted to write a film score. Or at least the theme song to a movie. Something instrumental which is how I started creating musically on piano. I’ve also thought it would be fun to make a dance record, bluegrass record. I mean…too many ideas. I’m up for pretty much anything.
AE: What are your future plans?RC: Keep playing. To continue to make great music and have inspiring collaborations.