It was a 2013 tour in Germany that inspired the first one-line-for-each-place reflection once I got home, and I like trying to extract, or encapsulate, what stands out about each place — especially because once a tour is complete, there can be such a blurring of faces, backdrops, and events. There are also so many vivid and brilliant moments; some of them are still reverberating, shining, giggling, swaying, sighing in my thoughts and bones.

I like to pause and see what comes to mind — not unlike #ddnd on Twitter (“dear day not diary” and a daily highlight composition) — neither too soon after the tour, nor too long. Today is the day, friends, and I’m thinking of the dots and hearts we connected in song from the west to east coasts.

Duncan, your low hanging moon was not where I left it but how I remembered it, and your sun’s warmth was the first of its kind this year; you began.

Victoria, you represented 1996 and 2013 in beautiful women’s big smiles and a folded piece of newsprint with a picture of me.

Vancouver, you filled a room and my heart with every way and time that I know you, and I noticed your touch every single time in slow motion; you were hard to leave.

Ymir, your certain kind of magic was the solution to the long drive’s equation; you hung my poster — and I smiled wide for it — amid flour and sugar.

Calgary, turns out you’re younger than you look and you sound older than you are; your deft repair turned on lights below and ignited backstage giggles.

Lloydminster, your virtual and physical knowledge differed and we championed a comedian’s first, ending it all on a piano bench with white wine and a chorus of “Proud Mary.”

Winnipeg, you sidled up to the curb in a way to besmirch your near-perfect paralell parking reputation and were touched by the presence of Birds Hill to Berlin and back.

Stony Mountain, the first double, you sold girl guide cookies, belly sweat in your new dress, and talked about “the girls” while we exaggerated stories of potential.

Onanole, we drove into your April snow storm and, unplugged, planned musicals and heard of house fires.

Saskatoon, you won over the Statler and Waldorf of the joint and swooned in the arms of a baby grand, melting in her steel and wood.

Calgary, we returned, you beckoned from the hot tub after singing along.

Edmonton, we tried to nap in the “room for crying” and navigated puzzle pieces from the past, remembering the waiting of 7 years ago most.

Sherwood Park, you panned for gold in the Saskatchewan River and spun pure magic near changing walls.

Toronto, as my new home you showed home well:  replies from here, there, and everywhere I’ve reached my hand out to; you held and lifted.

Montreal, you were the best you’ve ever been, near full, smiling, and seeing at long last via Aurora and 73rd Ave.

Ottawa, your rainy Sunday slowed us all down, not to mention those stairs, but you’re always my favourite hiding place and I was glad to close my eyes and rest my head on your shoulder.

Cole Harbour, you were funny and lovely, setting up a new world with a three day life span.

Saint John, your sunset was just one of the warm faces in the crowd, and after the music your eyes-filled with tears as you told me of your lost one; I noticed what I missed about those stories, this time.

Fredericton, the background noise would come and go but we, a small but dedicated few, travelled its peaks and troughs together, glowing for each other; plus gin.

xoc

Day 33 and this particular Canadian tour comes to an end! It’s been the best Canadian tour I’ve had yet, in both the practical, concrete ways and the intangible and magical ways.

Upon getting home, I sat on the couch and played ukulele covers of all the tour/homecoming songs I could think of. There are so many good ones, I’m not sure I’d ever need to write another. Here’s a bite of Brandi Carlile’s “What Did I Ever Come Here For.”

My heart is full. My body is tired. I’ve given and received so much.

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.

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

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Every autumn for the past four years I’ve been on tour. We (in the biz, you know) talk about fall and spring as the best, sometimes only, times to tour – the roads are safe, people aren’t too hot or too cold to venture out of their homes and/or into a venue, and generally audiences and media aren’t on holiday.

It’s a good time to do it, for those reasons, but also, as far as Eastern Canada goes, for the views, all reds and oranges and yellows, changing as we watch it seems. My tour mates Hilary Grist and Mike Southworth were a dream to travel with. Nothing broke or got lost, we laughed a lot and I loved getting to hear Hil’s songs each night (singing along on a couple, too.)

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Hil and I, roadside, in small town Ontario.

We officially dubbed our tour “The Battle of the Ballads” as Hils and I each have numerous ballads, but unofficially it was called the “Shouting From the Backseat” tour as I, for the first time ever, was not one of the drivers and often offered my thoughts, and snacks, from my domain in the back of the Chevy Malibu.

It felt to me like the last tour for The Living Record. It’s been two years since that came out and I was able to tour it in a way I hadn’t with any previous album – tirelessly – and in a way I’d always wanted to. But now with the next album being recorded in January (yee!) I’m ready to have new conversations, to tell new stories.

I think.

I hope?

I’m at the bend in the album-cycle road where I’m not sure exactly what’s going to happen next. I’m not entirely sure which combination of songs the new album will carry (note to self: decide!) or just what we’ll cook up in the studio.

Oh, by the way, I’m THRILLED to be making the album with Steve Dawson. I’ll be heading to the new Henhouse Studio in Nashville and carting John Dymond and Gary Craig down from Toronto to form the band (squee!). So whatever we DO get up to is going to sound great with these lads.

On this tour I played a couple of the new songs – Lovely Like You and Alone in This – prefacing them with an intro that this new record is set to be my country album. We WILL be recording in Nashville after all, and a number of the songs stem from separation, which is highly conducive to the genre of course. I’m still crooning over my piano like I’m spot-lit on a cabaret corner stage somewhere, so these things are relative and we’ll see how country I get.

And that’s the point – we’ll see. I learned a lot putting The Living Record out into the world and I hope this new record will continue to take me out on the road and into your ears and hearts as ever. But until it’s done, I’m going to step back from touring, get myself a sense of the big picture, and plan my next bold move.

Christa Couture Musideum Toronto
Moi at Musideum, Toronto. Photo by Susan Kendal-Urbach.

Maps. Charts. Schedules. Spreadsheets. Now’s the time for plotting and creating.

I’m so grateful I’ve been able to play as many shows as I have these past two years and this last batch seem almost dreamlike these couple weeks later. But to each of the towns, cities, we played in, let me tell you this:

  • Sudbury, you were the first feel of plastic keys and disbelieved you could ever adjust (ah, but you did!).
  • Utopia, you conjured old Friday night dances and sent us home with leftovers.
  • Chatham, you were a wiry, patchy, friendly cat and a need to buy winter gloves.
  • Ingersoll, your incredibly warm faces were a reminder of how good it can get.
  • Barrie, you landed on hard anniversaries but crossed paths with a piano man who you couldn’t help but follow.
  • Owen Sound, you were an old friend and a really good juice bar to battle a cold.
  • Peterborough, you were unexpectedly perfect with your sing-alongs and uke-instrumentals.
  • Kemptville, you were 95% familiar faces, a lucky, lucky stat.
  • Montreal, you were the best croissants and need be nothing more.
  • Ottawa, your heart couldn’t get bigger.
  • Moncton, you were dance classes down the hall and refuge from cold, dark rain.
  • St. John, you were spiral staircases and cloud-like pillows.
  • Fredericton, you almost didn’t make it but I’m so glad we all rallied to pull it off. I like you a lot.
  • Bedford, you were top notch and topped that off with cranberry liqueur (Ironworks Distillery from Lunenberg, Nova Scotia – a delightful discovery.)
  • Halifax, we laughed a little too hard but we were just so tired.
  • Toronto, you were home and I was so glad to come back to you.

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The fishy street lamp art of Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, where we wandered happily on a day off.

And now back to it. Back to culling this long list of songs, finishing the ones I can, leaving behind the ones I can’t force, keeping my hands and my voice in shape, sleeping, eating, doodling and noodling.

The working title for the new album is Zookeeper. I must tend to the beasts.

xoc

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Fave new t-shirt.

TourPosterVersion3 High Res Cropped

After taking a few months off from performing, recording, being Music-y, this show is getting back on the road!

It’s been six years since the delightful Hilary Grist and I first/last toured together – she and Sara Ciantar and I wove in and around BC one November – and we decided to partner up again and, this time, head East.

Hilary has just released the fantastic album Come & Go and I’m delighted to be part of her bringing that goodness to Ontario, Quebec and The Maritimes.

See you there!

TOUR DATES
Thu Oct 2: Sudbury, ON @ Fromagerie Elgin
Fri Oct 3: Utopia, ON @ Utopia Hall
Sat Oct 4: Chatham, ON @ Left Wing Gallery
Sun Oct 5: Ingersoll, ON @ Stonecroft Folk
Tue Oct 7: Barrie, ON @ Clarkson’s
Wed Oct 8: Owen Sound, ON @ Mossy Gatherings at River Café
Thu Oct 9: Peterborough, ON @ The Garnet
Fri Oct 10: Wakefield, QC @ Blacksheep Inn **just Hilary
Sat Oct 11: Kemptville, ON @ The Branch
Sun Oct 12: Montreal, QC @ Le Cagibi w/ Claire Morrison
Oct 16-19: Folk Music Ontario Conference – see y’all folkies there!
Tue Oct 21: Ottawa, ON @ Private House Concert
Thu Oct 23: Moncton, NB @ Café Aberdeen
Fri Oct 24: St John, NB @ Homeport Homestages
Sat Oct 25: Fredericton, NB @ Landsdowne House Concert
Sun Oct 26: Bedford, NS @ House Concert
Tue Oct 28: Halifax, NS @ The Company House w/Lindsay Duncan
Sat Nov 1: Port Hope, ON @ The Capitol, Songs of Johnny Cash
Tue Nov 4: Toronto, ON @ Musideum

What can I tell you? It would be in a way repetitive to regale the shows that were GREAT. The ones where we all felt less lonely.

You were there. You KNOW.

But I will add these things about each city/town I played in on the autumn tour, about these Canadian, Dutch, German, and English travels, where we met, where we touched and circled each other, where we wondered, where we danced, where we asked “why?” and “why not?” not of the gigs necessarily, but of that day, that time, of the fact that what we do together is so much more than my songs and you being there.

These are the places I played, and a few of the things I’ll remember:

In Port Alberni, I was told “you’ve lived a tragic life” and disagreed.

On Gabriola Island I fell asleep to the sounds of owls talking.

In Victoria a secret got out. I let it. I’d been holding on to it for awhile.

On Salt Spring Island I was transfixed by autumn leaves on a skylight.

I remember most from Denman Island that “people say all kinds of things, but they act on their feelings,” over comfort food.

In Armstrong four distinct chapters in my life met on one page.

During the show, Carla and I counted that I’ve played in Ymir eight times – the most I’ve played in any town, outside of my hometown.

In Calgary I tiptoed towards possibility, then ran away giggling.

Edmonton gave me three days of tears.

In Sherwood Park a man described the day his life changed while watching a turtle give birth, to assure me that life is long and full of unexpected wonder.

Regina kissed me with prairie autumn.

In Winnipeg I believed him – “you know what to do” – before sunrise on Osborne street.

Montreal sang every Disney song she could think of and I was glad I never finished any post-secondary schooling.

Ottawa let me rest my head on her lap and we planned our next bold move.

Toronto, as always, both soothed and excited and challenged and scared me. Our love story is being told so very slowly.

In Utrecht I was reminded of how I love short term routines in new cities.

Dusseldorf played music from home, connecting dots from far away places.

Offenbach kissed me too, but with wine and whiskey and Louis Armstrong.

In Berlin I turned 35.

Amersfoort reminded me how lucky I am to have mostly great gigs for open ears and hearts, and that noisy bars are few and far between. But noisy bars still happen.

In Hengelo I remembered how much I love the rain on my skin.

I felt lucky in Verden.

In Bremen I was overwhelmed by voices, sound, and the curve of a back that underlined “I love you.”

London flirted and skirted and darted and danced noisily, sweetly, and late into the night.

Beverley poured sunshine on the comfiest bed. It found familiar weight in broken hearts. It was full of kindness.

In Leeds we picked up where we left off, drinking wine while I went on too long and she smoked out the window, laughing and remembering.

In Alcester I was moved by family and friendship, by illness and endurance.

In Kelvedon a drummer did a decent Grant Lawrence impression and cited a long list of Canadian bands worth loving, known to him by the R3 podcast, and I missed Canada.

Onanole has come to be a much needed halfway point and always tells me “you’re tired, you’re safe here, sleep well.”

…and from there I drove home. 12,000+ Canadian kms later, planes and trains and rental cars through Germany, The Netherlands and England, wrong turns, right steps, hours, days, songs, duets, solos, parking tickets, speeding tickets, missed connections, connection, love, sex, touch, tears, remembering, forgetting, presence, absence, having, missing, something smaller and mightier than bridges over land and time, courage, fear, songs, stories, and nine weeks later –

I’m still yours.

and that was THAT tour.

and I’m going to rest now. Until the new year,
xoc

I love you this much (I assure you it’s A Lot):

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