It’s been two years since “The M Word: Conversations on Motherhood” was published and editor Kerry Clare has been posting follow up pieces from contributors on her blog Pickle Me This.

This opportunity came up just before I left on tour and I wasn’t sure if I would have time for it, not just time to write it, but to feel it, too. Writing about my kids asks for space. And Kleenex.

On the flight from Vancouver to Toronto, I wrote my two-years later post; my part of the ongoing conversations on motherhood. You can read it over at picklemethis.com.

This is the fifth in a series of posts catching up writers from The M Word, and finding out what they’re up to now. (Find out more about The M Word and read its rave reviews right here.) From previous weeks: “Kerry Ryan on Wishing and Washing“; “Heather Birrell on Talking to her (M)Other Self”; “Dear Me, by Nicole Dixon“; “Kerry Clare on Motherhood and Abortion.” 

In her essay, “These Are My Children”, Christa Couture introduces readers to her sons, Emmett and Ford, and recounts how she has mothered and related to motherhood since their deaths. Here, she considers what’s changed and what hasn’t in the two years since her essay was published… 

Day 27 and only 3 shows left in the tour! Getting the exact same rental car in Toronto as we did in Vancouver made for an easy transition off the plane and back on the road, and the weekend spin from Toronto to Montreal and Ottawa was almost entirely soundtracked by Regina Spektor and Kate Bush in that Camry (I’m having my semi-regular love affair with Hounds of Love). I just about had to move to Montreal when I could not for the life of me take the right exit out of the city, but other than that, smooth travels, friends, prevail. Hard to believe this tour is almost done.

Day 20 and the Western Canadian tour dates came to a close as we drove towards the sunset in Vancouver. Today, we fly back to Toronto and the tour resumes Thursday at Burdock! So far, we sold out of my first three albums (sorry fine folks of the last three shows!), left behind my dermaclean and Gaby’s aeropress, lost one sock, and gained one traffic violation. Other than the ticket, we think that’s pretty great, tour wise, and speaking of sold out: the last few shows were, and it just fills my heart to the brim.

What a damn beautiful tour this has been. Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, we’re coming for you!

Day twelve and we’re enjoying a day off in Onanole, Manitoba, where the latest snow fall (!) is quickly melting in the sun sun sun. I’m about to get a massage at Elkhorn (bliss!) and work some of the long drives out of my shoulders…

I’m in love with this tour, I gotta say. Every single show has been fantastic, and after taking so much time off from the road I couldn’t ask for a warmer return.

Gaby and I continue to Announce The Keys (and it remains a necessity…), the rental car is covered in mud on the outside (thanks to the GPS being hell-bent on back dirt roads during rain storms) and encrusted with granola in the backseat on the inside (oops), we’ve only lost one toothbrush and one sock, and we’ve gained the purchase of the original Broadway recording of RENT. Sing-alongs abound.

Happy album release day to us!

Yes, this fourth album of mine is now out in the world living her big, bold life. Get it digitally on iTunes or get the CD from Black Hen Music.

Long Time Leaving is the best thing I could make for you at this point in my life and I’m so proud of what Steve Dawson, Gary Craig, John Dymond, and I cooked up! Along with the talents of Shannon Swords (who engineered) and David Travers-Smith (who mastered) for your ears and Jen Squires, Catherine Mellinger, and Joi Arcand for your eyes.

Go get it. Sing along. Spread the word. Let me know what you think.

AND THANK YOU!

Day one on the west coast and we’re off to a good start! I almost lost the car keys leaving them on a friend’s stairs and Gaby almost lost them by leaving them at the coffee grinder in the Save-On in Nanaimo… thus we’ve developed a habit of near constantly announcing where the keys are to each other (routine will come quickly…) Backstage at the Duncan Showroom the zipper on my green “Long Time Leaving” shorts split open and trying to take them off was a challenge I’m glad only Gaby was there to witness… but then the “moon” at the back of the room at the showroom shone on our skin that was still warm from the sun, and Chris Ho opened the night with busy bees and flightless war, and all was, undeniably, well.

In 2012, when I crowd-funded about half of the costs for my album The Living Record, I delighted in fulfilling the perks.

Most of them, anyway.

The t-shirts I did not plan well, and custom making them left almost no room for error, which put a lot of stress on my partner at the time who was the one doing the actual screen printing work… I remember us both near tears in exasperation, surrounded by t-shirts hanging off every part of our house: the bookshelves, the shower curtain rod…

Since then, I’ve only hired-out for screening printing. Phewf.

For my new album Long Time Leaving‘s pre-order, I’ve ditched t-shirts, personalized songs, wee pieces of art, and kept just my favourite extras to give you: a lyric poster, and the song story postcards. As for the latter:

I like to tell stories (this you know).

And I love sending mail. Postcards in particular for me conjure travel and wandering and thinking and remembering and reminding; quick hellos and short stories.

I first wrote song stories for my EPs Loved and Lost in 2011. It gave me a chance to give what I do on stage — offer back story, insight into my song’s origins — in a new format. It meant those stories could have farther reaches in their new mode of transportation.

For The Living Record, I wrote song stories for ten of the  album’s pieces, and I felt like I was letting you in on a secret; one I wanted to tell.

Most of the postcards were written while on the road: in a couple spare hours before a show, in  a park or coffee shop near the venue, or on a day off. Dropping a big stack of postcards into a mailbox in one fell swoop is a satisfying feeling. I have to admit: I never quite trust Canada Post. Maybe trust isn’t the word, it’s more that I don’t believe the system works and am always so impressed by it. I write your name with some numbers on a piece of paper, drop it in a box, and days later it shows up at your house?! Magic!

Anyway, when I decided not to do a crowdfunding campaign for this new album, I knew I still wanted to make some of the “perks” available and I picked my favourite. Here’s to spending time with pen and paper, to the squeak of the mailbox drawer opening and closing, to the journey of a postcard from my hands to yours.

As I write this, there are 11 days left to still get the song story postcards (the pre-order ends April 15th!) and you can do so here.

Then keep an eye on your mailbox come May. Spring and postcards are coming.

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I find it hard to think “write a letter” without getting a little Joni singing in my head.

Originally posted to Facebook 03/25/2016.

What a sad week. The impact of violence, on cities, on people, on women. Yesterday I had to close the computer to stop taking in both the strong (thank you, to those voices, I am listening) and the cruel, in the wake of the Ghomeshi verdict.

For the record, I am a survivor and I believe survivors.

What Miriam Novak has written on this kind of belief is brilliant. I would quote the whole thing, but you can read it here. I appreciate that it prompts us to ask questions of ourselves, not just of others.

In the midst of the helplessness and worry and ache of this week, the contrast of delight and oddity of promo for Long Time Leaving has started. I’ve done the first few interviews, songs are getting their first few spins, and the first reviews are coming in.

I’ve been asked a few times about resilience, and I’ve wondered if people think I’ve a secret, or a trick to it. The trick comes on day two when I can see that I’ve made it 24 hours. And it comes every day after that. One week. One year. Eight years. The trick has been to see the steps I’ve taken so far as the impetus to take one more.

I thought I made an upbeat album that was rooted more in the joy of music than the space for sorrow (considering the space my last few albums held), but it’s been reflected back to me so quickly this week, from the first ears who are hearing it, that the story and space continues. It’s upbeat, but not exactly lighter, as one journalist put it to me. And I see it: sorrow doesn’t change her name, but she does make friends.

My heart was wide open yesterday, for the above and other elsewhere reasons, and I cried an ocean. I am a puffy-eyed Friday morning question and no answers except: put on the kettle, and keep asking.

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Christa Couture launches her long awaited new album “Long Time Leaving” from coast to coast! Join Christa for the following intimate, solo performances.

Further details under shows, or join the Facebook event.

04/02 – Barrie, ON @ House Concert
04/07 – Duncan BC @ Duncan Showroom with Chris Ho
04/08 – Victoria BC @ Solstice Cafe with Cluny Macpherson
04/09 – Vancouver BC @ CBC Studio 700 with Sandy Scofield
04/10 – Ymir BC @ The Schoolhouse
04/11 – Calgary AB The Ironwood with I Am The Mountain
04/14 – Winnipeg, MB @ Times Change(d), with Kris Ulrich
04/15 – Stony Mountain MB @ House Concert
04/16 – Onanole MB @ House Concert
04/20 – Saskatoon, SK @ The Bassment with A Voice for Vultures
04/23 – Edmonton AB @ The Blue Chair with Tzedeka
04/24 – Sherwood Park, AB @ R ‘Ouse
04/28 – Toronto, ON @ The Burdock with Corinna Rose
04/29 – Montreal. QC @ Le Cagibi with Marie Claire Durand
05/01 – Ottawa, ON @ Live on Elgin with Goodnight Boy
05/05 – Cole Harbour, NS @ Rose & Kettle
05/06 – St. John, NB @ Homeport Home Stages
05/07 – Fredericton, NB @ Grimross Brewing Co, Presented by Roots & Soul with Caitlin & Calum

CrossCanadaLTL

Great things can happen in laundry rooms, and I don’t mean just the clean clothes. Today my laundry/storage room was the site of a mini-news conference in which I revealed the album cover for Long Time Leaving:

Long Time Leaving – new album cover reveal!

Album cover REVEAL! Live, from my laundry room: I’m thrilled to tell you Long Time Leaving will be released April 15th on Black Hen Music.The cover: photography by Jen Squires – Photographer, collage by Catherine Mellinger. Layout and handwriting by Joi Arcand.Boom!

Posted by Christa Couture on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Isn’t the cover beautiful? It is the cumulative work of three wonderful artists, and, because it matters to me, those three artists are also three women: Jen Squires (photographer), Catherine Mellinger (collage artist – that image wasn’t photoshopped people, it was actually cut and paste and I am the happy owner of the original pieces!), and Joi Arcand (layout and handwriting, though it’s worth noting she’s also a photographer and all-around visual artist).

With this announcement, I’m also thrilled to share that the album will be released April 15th on Black Hen Music.

Black Hen Music has a mighty fine roster of artists. And Alice and Steve Dawson, who run that joint, are mighty fine people. Steve produced this and my last album, as you know, and it’s lovey and lucky to get to keep working with them both.

Next week I’ll be launching a pre-order of the album with a number of limited edition goodies and posting the cross-Canada tour dates. IT’S ALL HAPPENING.

Here we go,
xoc