Rose Cousins If You Were For Me

Some voices hit you hard from first blush and this is one of them. Beautifully clear and instantly distinctive, this 25-year-old songbird from Halifax, NS cuts to the chase with the first lovely strains of "Good Enough,” accompanied by mandolin, pedal steel and guitar, which complement her powerfully feminine voice. Strong yet tender, "Edmonton” picks up the pace with an added rhythm section, and the absolute command of her vocals becomes clear. Neither folk nor country, Cousins straddles that middle ground blazed by strong, independent singer-songwriters like Shawn Colvin before her, a similarly fresh voice rising above cliché, one armed with an exceptional grasp of pop sensibilities. The 11 original, self-penned songs go a long way towards separating Cousins from the pack and her choice of accompanying musicians, particularly Ray Legere on mandolin and Danny Maillet on dobro and guitar, lift each composition skyward. Yet, Cousins’ highly individual sound rises further, capable of blending joy with wonder, innocence with experience, spurred on with a confidence that is instantly audible and refreshing. The clear focus of "Good Enough” sets the stage, while the upbeat "Pale Love” digs into your psyche like a burr. Irresistible. (Old Farm Pony)