Long Time Leaving

Christa Couture

Record Details

Released:
2016

Record Tracklist

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“A brilliant career-defining project.” The Whole Note

“Couture is a spectacularly good songwriter; but it’s her voice and delivery that sets her apart from everyone else in the field.” Rocking Magpie

“An honest, musically rich album that is instantly likeable.” Penny Black Music

“If you go for fine song writing with real bite, heartfelt cutting vocals and classy but understated musicians then this is for you.” NE:MM


LYRICS

Christa Couture’s Long Time Leaving is a celebration of “ordinary” heartache
For most musicians, the break-up album is the quintessential songwriter cliché – bringing with it the burden to eek out originality from an oversubscribed muse.

But for award-winning indie artist Christa Couture — whose first three albums reflected on her teenage battle with cancer, the loss of her left leg to the disease, and the deaths of both of her young children under separate circumstances — the opportunity to write songs about such ordinary heartache seemed like a welcome reprieve.

On the Steve Dawson-produced Long Time Leaving, Christa offers a truly unique take on the topic thanks in part to a long and complex relationship with grief that’s given her rare insight into its nuances.

It’s a mostly upbeat album filled with sweet soaring hooks, whimsical melodies, clever word-play and Christa’s trademark sweet, quirky vocals.

It is at times an album to sing along to, even an album to do housework too (!!) – something Christa was striving for – and an album about continuing to move forward in the aftermath of tragedy.

Case in point is “When it Gets Dark Again,” a compassionate ditty with an “Ooo ooo ooo” chorus about the times when binge-drinking is a perfectly understandable and forgivable response to pain.

“Zookeeper” is a darkly amusing, musical theatre-influenced escapade that compares the process of couple’s counselling to that of a zookeeper tending to wild animals.

“In the Papers” is a clever, fictionalized account of that feeling when you know everyone’s talking about you.

And the album’s opener, “The Slaughter,” is a wistful melody with lush vocal reverb in which Christa describes post break-up dalliances with both women and men – and ponders queer identity, lust and exploration.

The collection seems effortlessly cohesive as Christa’s expansive vocals and singular writing style provide the foundation for an array of arrangements – ranging from the sprightly, minimalist “Aux Oiseaux” to the twangy “Alone in This.”  The latter is Christa’s “Nashville breakup song,” in honor of the city where the album was recorded.

Juno-winner Dawson not only produced the album but also contributes as a musician, adding pedal steel Weissenborn, ukulele and electric guitar. The top-notch band is rounded out by Blackie and the Rodeo Kings’ rhythm section: John Dymond (k.d. lang, Bruce Cockburn) on bass and Gary Craig (Jann Arden, Anne Murray) on drums.  Famed Nashville-based fiddler Fats Kaplin also makes an appearance on the coquettish “Lovely Like You.”
— Heather Kitching

Produced by Steve Dawson (who also contributed as a musician on pedal steel, Weissenborn, ukulele, electric guitar, and vocals), and with John Dymond on bass, Gary Craig on drums, and guest appearance by fiddler Fats Kaplin. Recorded in Nashville in 2015.

Lyrics:
The Slaughter
Alone in This
Michigan Postscript
Separation/Agreement
Zookeeper
Lovely Like You
In the Papera
Solid Ground
That Little Part of My Heart
When it Gets Dark Again
If I Still Love You
Aux Oiseaux

The Slaughter


Cryptographer working to encipher
does she know that when I think of her all the words get caught up in my chest?
Encoded this message in a stolen kiss
all I want is to return it, over prairies, over mountains west

Sigh, oh my my
call me Dione’s daughter
and lay, go on and lay me down on the stone for slaughter
an offering

Cartographer illustrates the picture south of the equator
building on an educated guess
He draws the lines linear and serpentine
says “I’ll show you yours, you’ll show me mine and we the undersigned vow to do our best”

Sigh, oh my my
call me Dione’s daughter
and lay, go on and lay me down on the stone for slaughter
an offering

Morning graces the land
our glorious hands
Morning praise for the sun
our rapturous tongues

Morning.

Alone in This

It was not just happenstance when I caught you hold my glance
when we said goodbye and lingered with our hands
Or did I imagine that? What I felt did you feel back?
Don’t lie to me you’re a better man than that

Oh tell me yes or tell me no
if it’s yes then I won’t persist
Am I alone in this?

It would be one hell of a second chance ‘cause many years have come to pass
since I turned away and took another path
That somehow brought me back to that moment that we had
when it seemed like love wasn’t only in our past

Oh tell me yes or tell me no
if it’s no then kiss me quick
Am I alone in this?

Well your lips are spoken for but the words than they employ
have been tending to a somewhat open door
and that’s one kind of blurry line that messes with my mind
what I need from you is something more defined

Oh tell me yes or tell me no
‘cause I don’t’ want to guess
Am I alone in this?

Oh tell me yes or tell me no
and if it’s yes then I won’t persist
Am I alone in this?

Michigan Portscript

Waiting at the border gonna cross in North Dakota
maybe get to Minnesota before dawn
I’ve been placing my survival in departures and arrivals
putting all my stock in going, going gone

Is it getting old?
Truth be told – I keep hoping for something to finally take a hold
Until that hold is all I know, I will hit the road

Hello Michigan it’s been two years since we had a thing
since you reminded me I sing before I ever start to speak
and it is some kind of beauty that you see right through me
that you find a way to move me from a place of feeling weak

Is it getting old?
Truth be told – I keep hoping for something to finally take a hold
Until that hold is all I know, I will hit the road

Orphaned, I am orphaned on the shore of this great lake
Fortune, such good fortune to be found here alive and awake

Is it getting old?
Waiting at the border and the night is getting colder
been on the road dear since dawn

Only half way to Calgary but I’m running on empty
will you come and get me before I’m gone to long?

Is it getting old?
Truth be told – I keep hoping for something to finally take a hold
Until that hold is all I know, I will hit the road.

Separation Agreement

The hallways are neatly lined with boxes stacked
this is what eight years looks like packed
and it’s difficult to know how to divide
which ghosts are yours, and which are mine

The house has never seemed heavier than this
even for all the empty rooms and the stillness
I’m a little bit lost here I admit
but when I whispered your name to come back, I didn’t mean it

Don’t you cry for this
don’t you cry for the leaving
If you’re gonna cry make it for the reason this is no one’s fault

A slow and steady teasing out the past
careful it’s a fragile artifact
and difficult to decipher when you’re still hurting
which part you’re losing and which part you’re learning

Nothing knows you better than these walls
and these walls would sigh if these walls could talk
they know every dark secret, every dark moment, every dark night
every hard line, every oversigh

Don’t you cry for this
don’t you cry for the leaving
If you’re gonna cry make it for the reason this is no one’s fault

Inhale, exhale, rewire, program, practice, backfire – you’re on track
It’s a long road you’re on now, and the origin is gone now, don’t look back

And don’t you cry for this
don’t you cry for the leaving
If you’re gonna cry make it for the reason this is no one’s fault.

Zookeeper

I’ve not been keeping score
does the final tally really matter anymore?
Our zookeeper’s getting bored
quietly waiting while the creatures are pacing

But careful those cages aren’t locked
Careful when the animals talk
‘cause they never lie
and the questions you’ve been asking may need no reply

I’ve not been entirely clear
since the flooding it’s been a little muddy ‘round here
Our zookeeper’s all but disappeared
The water’s receding and the creatures need feeding

But careful those cages aren’t locked
Careful when the animals talk
‘cause they never lie
and the questions you’ve been asking may need no reply

This ground is well covered
Everything’s been said
To the cause of defending our flaws we’ve been dedicated

But careful those cages aren’t locked
Careful when the animals talk
‘cause they never lie

and the questions you’ve been asking may need no reply

I’ve not been keeping score
I’ve not been keeping score
I’ve not been keeping score
and our zookeeper – she’s seen it all before.

Lovely Like You

There are bees in my belly and they’re buzzing
Tulips in my tummy and they’re budding
Oh spring is my body and it’s coming
What I wouldn’t give to be lovely like you

There are stars down my spine they are aligning
The moon is in my eyes and it is shining
Oh the night is my body and it’s pining
What I wouldn’t give to be lovely like you

There ain’t no saving for a rainy day
There ain’t no saying it any other way
Please let me into your honey comb, please let me call you all my own

There are rivers in my fingers overflowing
Water level’s rising it shows no sign of slowing but baby underwater we are glowing
What I wouldn’t give to be lovely like you

There ain’t no saving for a rainy day
There ain’t no saying it any other way
Please let me into your honey comb, please let me call you all my own

What I wouldn’t give to be lovely
what I wouldn’t give to be lovely
what I wouldn’t give to be lovely like you.

In the Papers

She wakes up startled, shakes off the remnants of the night
Ever forgetful, she takes her time to adjust to light
Empties the ashtray, pulls out her suitcase

They’ll be all over this in the papers
Morning, coffee, she sings Harlem Blues just a touch off key
Wanders and lingers, she’s in no rush to take her leave
Eyes the crack in the window and the human traffic below

They’ll be all over this in the lobby, in the taxi
Airplane descending, New York appears a carpet of gold
She wonders and marvels at the thought of “how many light bulbs?”
The man sat beside her reminds her of another

They’ll be all over this when it’s over, and it’s over

Hold on
hold on
hold on to someone.

Solid Ground

My heart’s filled with arsenic
and it’s seeping out from time to time in these lines
But I can offer plenty of reason
for my seething though there’s never the time

If you’re willing, pull up a chair
I’ll put on the kettle and I’ll join you there
And we’ll start at the top and work our way down
until we reach solid ground

‘cause surely you are feeling just as hard
and heartbroken as I am
for the elements they take no rest and they make no exceptions

If you’re willing, pull up a chair
I’ll put on the kettle and I’ll join you there
And we’ll start at the top and work our way down
until we reach solid ground

I’m not afraid of the dark like you are
I’m not afraid of your heart like you are

‘cause I know the best medicine is an honest conversation
And I’d be willing to trade – a fair exchange for your candor in kind

If you’re willing, pull up a chair
I’ll put on the kettle and I’ll join you there
And we’ll start at the top and work our way down
until we reach solid ground.

That Little Part of My Heart

I’m the king of the castle and you’re the dirty rascal
and it’s getting up to my head all this taking the lead
But I am steady in my ways – to change would be a hassle
you went and you planted a bomb (but called it a seed)

In that little part of my heart that I’ve kept under cover
that has got this far with no to little remark
Now I’m thinking a lot about my ex-lovers
and I’m sorry now I kept them in the dark

I’m the king of the castle never wanted me a queen
but you seem to pushing past the barrier
So I’m put on red alert ‘cause I think that this could hurt
but you sweetly say to me “the more the merrier”

In that little part of my heart that I’ve kept under cover
that has got this far with no to little remark
Now I’m thinking a lot about my ex-lovers
and I’m sorry now I kept them in the dark

Don’t be afraid to be brave, when you are brave
Don’t be ashamed to be amazing – you are amazing

I’m the kind of the castle and you’re the dirty rascal
and it’s getting up to my head all this taking the lead

I’m the king of the castle – you’re my loyal subjects
but then again we never did put it to a vote
But I love all of my people, I love them from a distance
it’s the kind of love best kept remote

For that little part of my heart that I’ve kept under cover
that has got this far with no to little remark
has got me thinking a lot about my ex-lovers
and I’m sorry now I kept them in the dark
I’m sorry now I kept you in the dark.

If I Still Love You

I remember when we lost it
There was a bridge and I didn’t cross it
Oh the cab fare to get there was a dime that I couldn’t spend
But if I still love you like I love you, can we still be friends?

There was a moment maybe wasted
but when I’m near you boy I still can taste it
Oh light sleeper, when you wander well I wonder where you will end
like I wonder if I still love you, can we still be friends?

And the thoughts that pulls me under are thoughts of storgic lovers
Thoughts I want to tell you – but I think we would just argue
I could find you in the dark still
if you need me to know that I will
Though I know that to go back would be just a game of pretend
But what I don’t know is if I still love you, can we still be friends?

If I still love you baby, tell me, can we still be friends?

When it Gets Dark Again

Bloodshot and tired, I had a rough night
you know what I mean when I say, rough, don’t you? right?
I would’ve been fine if I’d gotten some sleep
but there was none to get and it wasn’t just me

Made up our faces and mixed what we had
giggling we called and fell into a cab
Scoped out the crowd of a crowded bar
then tore at their flesh like the beasts that we are

‘cause when it gets dark again I start drinking again
throwing my own heart out to the wolves again
If I lose the plot again I’ll just start over again
we’re all gonna hit rock bottom now and then

If you think I’m easy you haven’t got that right
I just pick my battles but I know how to fight
Yes I’ve been beaten but that won’t happen twice
for now my best defence is just to smile and play nice

Until it gets dark again I start drinking again
throwing my own heart out to the wolves again
If I lose the plot again I’ll just start over again
we’re all gonna hit rock bottom now and then

I’ll buy another round for my midnight friends
The bottle’s not a good one but she’s a friend

Looks like I’ve done it again, it must be the weekend
and you must be my new best friends, and friends – it’s getting dark again
let’s start drinking again
throwing our own bones out to the wolves again
If we lose the plot again we’ll just start over again
we’re all gonna hit rock bottom now and then

I’ll buy another round for my midnight friends
The bottle’s not a good one but she’s a friend
And we’re all gonna hit rock bottom now and then
Ya we’re all gonna hit rock bottom,
we’re all gonna hit rock bottom
we’re all gonna hit rock bottom in the end.

Aux Oiseaux

Closed closed closed

The signs on the windows they go:
“we’re closed closed closed, and you young thing you better get home”

And I blush
“Young thing” these days, not so much

I feel old old old
I feel the years of the world in my bones
But I’m not fussed

I know what I am and am not
I know what I can and cannot
I know what I have and I want

I want to hold hold hold
and not have to let go
When death comes I want to say “No”

But don’t judge – I’ve been through a lot
I don’t say that to say that you’ve not
I think that we’ve both been cut up
we both have…

But guess what? I’m glad that we’re here in this dump
If together is all that we’ve got it’s enough for us not to give up
Don’t give up, don’t give up

And we’ll go go go
I see us where shadows grow
where je suis oiseaux.