I finally made my first 2019 excursion to Jammin’ Java last Monday evening; Team GDW’s favorite little music venue in Virginia who always invite some great Canadian musicians to perform on their intimate stage. When I saw Rose Cousins announced as part of their May line-up, this was a show that I could not afford to miss. Having enjoyed music from Rose at two events last summer in Ontario, it was a very easy decision to add this particular night to my concert-going calendar.
Taking my seat adjacent to the dimly lit stage, the acoustic guitar, ukelele and piano set up informed me that Rose was performing solo on this evening, so I settled in to enjoy seeing this artist share her music without any additional band. Receiving a very warm welcome when stepping onto the stage, Rose would opt for the guitar to commence the evening with “Freedom,” the first of several cuts from her highly acclaimed 2017 “Natural Conclusion” album. Returning the guitar to the stand, Rose would take a seat at the piano, and address the room as she made herself comfortable. “It’s Monday, we’re here, thank you for coming out for me,” she stated, eliciting chuckles as she continued, “It’s a Monday for me too.” Prior to performing “Farmer’s Wife,” an ode to her mother, and the first of many songs performed with this instrument scattered through the set, she would also encourage the audience to start thinking of songs to request, and that she was open to any of her back catalog if she could remember them.
There were many Rose Cousins fans in the room, clearly, as the requests came thick and fast. And ever the courteous professional, Rose would welcome them all, and play as many as she possibly could. Choices spanned back to her earlier works, so cuts such as “White Daisies,” “All The Time It Takes To Wait,” and “Go First” further enabled a great rapport between artist and audience. Rose also encouraged the audience to throw questions at her too; happily responding to how “Go First” was used in an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy,” her current music listening pleasures whilst on the road, and her willingness to seek prompts from the audience while recalling misplaced lyrics during the requested track, “If You Were For Me.” Offered a tablet with some lyrics by the Jammin’ Java sound engineer, Danny, Rose jokingly thanked him, but declined the invitation to take the easy route. “Danny and I have only known each other for a few hours,” she shared with the room. “We’ve been to Whole Foods together, we’ve had discussions about coffee and kombucha … we’ve done well.”
Popular cuts from “Natural Conclusion” were both requested and automatically included too, allowing the audience to fully enjoy the likes of “Grace,” “Lock And Key,” and “White Flag” throughout the night. Rose would thank the audience for their requests, and advise that she was engaging with her fans at her recent shows to assist in a possible decision to re-release a compilation of some of her earlier music, seeking to learn which older tunes are requested frequently for inspiration. She would also share two new, unreleased tracks; the first, an up-tempo guitar number titled “Love Comes Back,” and the second, seated back at the piano, “My Oldest Love,” prompted by the earlier question about her current listening pleasures, to which she named Newfoundland singer-songwriter Tim Baker (who coincidentally was scheduled to perform at this venue the following evening), and credited a collaboration with him for this new composition.
Closing her show with “Chosen,” Rose would reflect on an earlier audience question about the demands of her chosen profession. “I think I definitely have hit lows several times before, and I wonder, what’s the point,” she offered. “But I think my job is to instigate connection. I think that’s what I seek, and it would be different if you guys weren’t here; like you’re essential to it.” Pausing for some self-reflection, she would continue this intimate conversation with the room. “You guys are the ones that keep me going; the fact that you know things as deep back as you do in my catalog is special to me,” she shared. “I’ve been doing this quite a long time now, and the shape of everything has changed multiple times, but what doesn’t change is the consistency of people who like good songs and emotion.”
- Farmer’s Wife
- Tender Is The Man
- Go First
- If You Were For Me
- White Daisies
- All The Time It Takes To Wait
- ***Unknown Title***
- Stray Birds
- White Flag
- Dance If You Want To
- Love Comes Back ***New Track***
- My Oldest Love ***New Track***
- Lock And Key
- This Light