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Rose Cousins: We Have Made A Spark
Whenever I got to the end of Rose Cousins's previous two albums, If You Were For Me and The Send Off, my one over-riding reaction is that I've wanted to give Rose a hug. With her latest release We Have Made A Spark, there's one difference: I want to hug everyone involved with the project.
What happens when you get a bunch of musicians together who are friends, who know their craft well, and who know each other well enough to bring out everyone's respective best? You get this album. As much as this album is a Rose Cousins's album is as much as it is an album about a musical community: Rose, from Halifax, making a record with a bunch of her friends who from Boston, among them Zack Hickman, Billy Beard, Rose Polenzani, Kris Delmhorst, Edie Carey, Mark Erelli, Jennifer Kimball, Dinty Child... and the list goes on.
You have Rose's devastatingly beautiful lyrics throughout, but especially on tracks like "The Shell," or the haunting "Go First" with a simple arrangement of piano and strings with just enough guitar and steel. The bluesy opener "The Darkness" sets the tone that this album won't necessarily always be happy or try to force happiness, but rather, emotively, the album is real and presents emotions with which you can't help but empathize. Her cover, with Mark Erelli, of Bruce Springsteen's "If I Should Fall Behind" is the best cover of Springsteen's oft-covered song I've ever heard, simply on the strength of the vocal layers of both Rose and Erelli, but also their friends.
To coincide with the album there is a 20-minute documentary short about what making this album was like. In a time where we sometimes only talk in 140 characters, or want instant downloads, or to listen only by way of ear buds, We Have Made A Spark is an excellent and essential reminder about what music does: builds communities, makes friendships, and makes many, many wonderful sparks.