I first ‘discovered’ the aural delights of Christa Couture in 2012 when I reviewed her previous album, The Living Record; which made it to my Top 10 list at the end of the year.
So it was with mixed emotions when I received my copy of Long Time Leaving; could she match the quality of her previous offering?
Christa has a very ‘interesting’ back story (a teenage battle with cancer meaning she lost a leg and the sad loss of her two young children); which has been well documented in her previous albums; so when this record is described as her ‘break up’ album; my interest was piqued.
The opening track The Slaughter is simply sumptuous; not only washing over you like Summer rain; but also quickly imposing itself on your psyche; as you slowly realise that it is about a number of dalliances she had with both men and women; following ‘that break up.’ For what it’s worth; I can’t wait to use her expression ‘rapturous tongues’ some time soon.
Song #2 Alone in This; takes a more traditional Folk path, than I’d expected but nonetheless; it’s another brittle and slightly dark story; set to Producer Steve Dawson’s pedal-steel back drop; and I guess it will make tears well up in many an eye.
As regular readers will know; I’m always going to be drawn to a title like Lovely Like You; and this one doesn’t disappoint; especially when Fats Kaplin makes an appearance on fiddle, as Christa’s exquisite voice soars and glides like a bluebird.
If you don’t already know Christa Couture, she comes in somewhere between Nanci Griffith, Allison Krauss and perhaps, even Mama Cass…..try songs like That Little Piece of My Heart or Michigan Postscript to hear where I’m coming from.
With the divide between this type of (Alt) Country and the CMA type Heavy Metal Country getting wider by the day; it’s harder for songwriter’s like Christa to make the crossover; which is a huge shame when songs like the quirky Zookeeper and definitely When It Gets Dark Again; could and should be a perfect fit for a number of ‘Big Hair’ singers in and around Nashville Town.
Which brings us to my favourite; by far song here….the quaint Aux Oiseaux; which doesn’t sound particularly like anything I’ve ever heard before; and that’s a really good thing. Plus the sentiment really ‘hit the spot’ with me.
Christa Couture is a spectacularly good songwriter; but it’s her voice and delivery that sets her apart from everyone else in the field.
#Footnote. When I played ‘This Little Piece of My Heart on my April podcast; I inadvertently mixed the title up with the Janis Joplin song; which tickled Christa.