Nashville country singer-songwriter Ruthie Collins is set to release her sophomore album, Cold Comfort, in April.
In the title track—released today with an accompanying video—Collins rides out the toughest parts of a breakup with grit and grace. “Since the day we saw the end / I’ve got a whole lotta extra time on my hands,” she sings in the song’s opening verse. Collins sounds dejected but determined as the track progresses: “Hello heartbreak, I know you well / but they say you’re bad for my mental health.” The song ultimately transforms into a bittersweet cri de cœur, pairing Collins’ honey vocals with country-rock guitar.
“I was getting over the end of a relationship when I wrote this song, and when you’re going through something like that, you start to look back on all the time and energy and tears and blood and sweat you poured into it,” Collins tells American Songwriter. “You ask yourself what was the point of it all, and you have to come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t as special as you thought it was.”
In the accompanying video, Collins strolls through the desert near California’s Joshua Tree National Park. She sports a black hat, a black dress, and a pair of black boots. She clutches a bottle of booze. Collins’ look is desert-breakup-chic, but directors Cal + Aly capture her forlorn expression in hazy close-up shots.
According to Collins, “Cold Comfort” is about the mixed feelings one experiences at the end of a relationship.
“You know you’re stronger and wiser because of it, but that’s cold comfort because you know you’ll never get all that time back,” she says.
“Cold Comfort” follows Collins’ latest singles, a mournful piano-driven ballad called “Dang Dallas” and an expansive ode to Gram Parson called “Joshua Tree.” Cal + Aly also directed the music for the latter track, which was inspired by Parson’s fatal 1973 overdose and filmed at the Joshua Tree Inn, where Parson died.
“We filmed half of the video in the actual room that Gram passed in, so that was a wildly surreal and pretty spooky experience,” Collins told CMT last month. “The moment I started singing my first take of the chorus, a white dreamcatcher fell off the wall onto the bed I was sitting on. The whole crew froze and you could feel the electricity in the air.”
It should come as no surprise that Collins also chose to shoot her “Cold Comfort” video in Joshua Tree, given her love of the environment.
“[It’s] one of my favorite places in the world, full of wild energy and magic,” she said upon releasing the “Joshua Tree” video.
Cold Comfort is Collins’ sophomore album, following her 2017 debut Get Drunk and Cry. Like “Cold Comfort,” much of the fare on Get Drunk and Cry was inspired by her romantic flops (the album is, after all, called Get Drunk and Cry).
“It’s [about] getting through heartbreak, coming out on the other side stronger,” she said of her debut album in 2017. Of course, the quote could just as easily apply to “Cold Comfort.”
Collins will have a busy spring. In addition to releasing Cold Comfort, she’ll be judging American Songwriter’s May/June 2020 Lyric Contest with Steve Cropper, Chris Collingwood, Mo Pitney, Marc Broussard, Michaela Anne, Gary Burr, Drew Holcomb, and Wendell Kimbrough.
Cold Comfort is out April 3 via Sidewalk / Curb Records.