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.
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
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:
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!
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.
For those of you following along, I made my last album, The Living Record, in 2012 with Steve at the Henhouse when both were based in Vancouver.
But the man and family since moved their home and business south and so I pointed myself in that direction to work with him again.
This album, Zookeeper, Lovely Like You, Normal Heartache, Midnight Friends,title-to-be-revealed-below, will be my fourth full-length and it has felt a long time coming.
That said, there are a few parts left for Steve to record and then it will be mixed in April. I don’t know yet when I’ll have it mastered, much less released, and so it has a way to come yet.
I don’t want to rush it.
But it is moving along.
I went into recording this album neither more nor less prepared than I have been before, but less certain. I was still finding/waiting on some lyrics until a few days before heading into the studio. A few of the songs were only written a couple months ago, instead of my having a tidy, complete set, months in advance, road-tested and raring to go.
For the meandering pieces that were falling into place, I didn’t feel entirely sure how they’d fit together.
Other than that I made them.
And by working with Steve, with Gary Craig on drums, and John Dymond on bass, that they would be a whole, shaped by our working together.
I have always loved these Ani Difranco words:
“People used to make a record
as in a record of an event
the event of people making music in a room”
The music that I love most sounds like people made it. Skilled, creative, collaborative, present, masterful, imperfect, breathing humans. I love that sound.
With a different band, on a different day, the songs would sound quite different. But for three days, the four of us recorded 12 songs, capturing them like photographs specific to our thoughts and hands in that time frame. The likes of Gary, Steve, and Craig get to dabble in that kind of magic all the time. But at the rate of making an album every 2-4 years, and not being a side player otherwise (save for the occasional bgs session – and I’m always available for bg sessions, note!), it’s a lucky, special few days for me, every time.
Here we are figuring out the intro to “The Slaughter:”
Those three days of getting “the beds” avec band were a relaxed – despite being jam-packed – fun, and exciting time. Holy smokes I’m just about the luckiest and most grateful wee singer-songwriter around for the experience of working with these fellas. John and Gary have a seeming psychic link, thanks to their years of working together, and it was a delight to see it, moreso to have it, and their talents, on my songs. In addition to being super profesh with mad skills, Gary was also a maker of excellent juices and fresh ginger fueled our days. Working with Steve remains a pleasure – the man is a master – and in our tight time line, he captained us smoothly on track.
Listening back to drums and bass on “Separation/Agreement” with Steve at the helm and engineer Shannon Swords nodding along.
It was a mighty fine time, I tell you.
After that followed my overdubbing piano, guitar, vocals, and harmonies, which just Steve and I did together, up until the final moments before I had to load up the car and leave town. Whewf!
This is a bit of what I look like while recording harmonies (well, here, I’m doubling a line in “That Little Part of My Heart”):
I’m a hand-talker.
And here’s Steve and me, happy record makers, on my way out the door on our last day:
While I was feeling some uncertainty going into the studio, now I’m so excited about what we made. It’s different than what I’ve made before, sonically, emotionally. It’s something I didn’t expect. I can’t wait to share the finished album, and I can’t wait to play the songs live (most of them only a handful of people have heard).
It may be a long time coming but I can tell you now it’s named:
Long Time Leaving
Coming to ears and hearts near you soon(ish).
p.s. Thank you Michael for filming the studio stuff.