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Christa CoutureChrista Couture
Album: Long Time Leaving
Label: Black Hen
Tracks: 12

Canadian born Christa Couture is the product of a musical family and is a lady who not only possesses an immense talent for music and lyrics but has been endowed with a real sense of humour too. Her website proudly states that she is a singer, songwriter, storyteller, cyborg, halfbreed and then some. Get the picture?

This album is her seventh musical production in total and her first since 2012. It is due for release in the UK in May 2016. I wrote to her and asked who her main influence was, half expecting the answer to be fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell. But no, she answered "I'm drawn to lyrics first, so songwriters who can paint pictures in a few words impact me most." She then continued "But who has influenced me most? My children, my family. Those I'm closest to. They shape me and my music." This is a lady that I can understand and associate with totally.

Christa's music is a mixture of folk, country, soft rock and a few other genres thrown in for good measure. There is a sweet innocence to her voice which at times makes her sound Irish, which is no bad thing!. Whimsical, quirky, imaginative are all adjectives which go some way to describing Christa's words and music. Not taking life too seriously is another description of her which is more than amply displayed in "Solid Ground" with the opening line of "My heart is filled with arsenic." Ground breaking might be more apt. I am not sure that I have ever heard the word arsenic used in a song before but hey ho!

"In The Papers" is a beautifully constructed song about paranoia. The piano backing is delightful and perfectly supports the theme of the song. Thoughtful and deep meaningful lyrics make this song a real winner especially with that crucial element of innocence in Christa's voice. It is my favourite track on the album.

A couple of tracks will certainly make the listener smile and quite probably join in. It is claimed to be an album to do the housework to but I would think you would lose so much of the passion and feeling if you were using the hoover at the same time as trying to listen. Washing up perhaps would be OK.

"If I Still Love You" is a real singalong track and the joy in Christa's music comes bounding out of the speakers or headphones at a rate to set the heart beating, whilst her observations on life and emotions are demonstrated perfectly in "Zookeeper."

From the opening track "The Slaughter" to the last "Aux Oiseaux" with its opening line of "Closed, closed, closed" an apt finale, this is lyrically one of the most original albums I have heard in a long time. Clever, thoughtful, insightful and smile inducing, all sung with musical backing of true quality, it is an album which is suitable to listen to at any time of the day. Christa sounds like a lady who will give an outstanding live performance and would also, most probably, make a wonderful dinner companion.

Rory Stanbridge