Christa Couture
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Christa Couture

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter

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Some albums come in through the mail slot with the smell of greatness oozing right through the wrapper.

Christa Couture’s The Living Record is one of those.

Even if you didn’t know she was a 2008 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award winner; even if you didn’t know she earned great reviews for her two previous CDS; even if you didn’t know she’d received significant CBC airplay; even if you didn’t know Steve Dawson produced the record, or that Jim Byrnes joins her for a duet… something would tell you to slit the cellophane and pop the The Living Record into the tray.

And having done so, you’d hear a remarkable chanteuse, singing superb material, tastefully arranged and produced. Couture’s voice floats over the album’s pop-roots foundations like a butterfly over a garden.

Some reviewers hear Jane Siberry, Joni Mitchell; Tori Amos might also come to mind at points. But that’s merely a way of saying Couture’s work has the combination of accessibility, and emotional depth such thoughtful writers have in common.

Her lyrics are landscapes, seen as through the window on a voyage of dark nights and bright mornings. There’s a long highway rolling beneath her words, and stories we only get hints of as the music moves us through.

Couture’s website bio reveals more: these songs were born in heartbreak and devastation beyond what many of us will ever know. But lyrics like “It’s hard to say I’ll ever gain the capacity for joy again” are the exception, not the rule. The Living Record is not a work of tragedy, but of redemption. - Roots Music Canada


Some albums come in through the mail slot with the smell of greatness oozing right through the wrapper.

Christa Couture’s The Living Record is one of those.

Even if you didn’t know she was a 2008 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award winner; even if you didn’t know she earned great reviews for her two previous CDS; even if you didn’t know she’d received significant CBC airplay; even if you didn’t know Steve Dawson produced the record, or that Jim Byrnes joins her for a duet… something would tell you to slit the cellophane and pop the The Living Record into the tray.

And having done so, you’d hear a remarkable chanteuse, singing superb material, tastefully arranged and produced. Couture’s voice floats over the album’s pop-roots foundations like a butterfly over a garden.

Some reviewers hear Jane Siberry, Joni Mitchell; Tori Amos might also come to mind at points. But that’s merely a way of saying Couture’s work has the combination of accessibility, and emotional depth such thoughtful writers have in common.

Her lyrics are landscapes, seen as through the window on a voyage of dark nights and bright mornings. There’s a long highway rolling beneath her words, and stories we only get hints of as the music moves us through.

Couture’s website bio reveals more: these songs were born in heartbreak and devastation beyond what many of us will ever know. But lyrics like “It’s hard to say I’ll ever gain the capacity for joy again” are the exception, not the rule. The Living Record is not a work of tragedy, but of redemption. - Roots Music Canada


“Couture shines with inspiration and perseverance. She brings change to those that need it, and a complex sound to those that love the art of folk-style storytelling.”
- Regina Leader Post


“Couture shines with inspiration and perseverance. She brings change to those that need it, and a complex sound to those that love the art of folk-style storytelling.”
- Regina Leader Post


“A nimbly shuffling roots-rock number finds the B.C.-based songstress freely spirited and alive and well…” - Globe and Mail


“A nimbly shuffling roots-rock number finds the B.C.-based songstress freely spirited and alive and well…” - Globe and Mail


“a breathtakingly beautiful record about moving on from loss and letting the light back in… Indeed, there’s something jubilant about the lush, cinematic soundscapes and what they bring out in Christa’s voice.” - Uptown Magazine


“a breathtakingly beautiful record about moving on from loss and letting the light back in… Indeed, there’s something jubilant about the lush, cinematic soundscapes and what they bring out in Christa’s voice.” - Uptown Magazine


“It helps to have writing chops hot enough to entice the likes of Jim Byrnes to duet with you on the charming Paper Anniversary… the lyric recounts the depth of enduring romance in a way that puts the song firmly in the territory of some of those great Second World War classics like I’ll Be Seeing You.” - The Province


“It helps to have writing chops hot enough to entice the likes of Jim Byrnes to duet with you on the charming Paper Anniversary… the lyric recounts the depth of enduring romance in a way that puts the song firmly in the territory of some of those great Second World War classics like I’ll Be Seeing You.” - The Province


"... criminally underrated singer-songwriter" - The Georgia Straight


When I think of Jewel, I think of that song "You Were Meant For Me" wherein the lovely Alaskan chanteuse claims to "break the eggs to make a smiley face" while cooking her lover breakfast. The first time I heard those lyrics I lost my breakfast. I don't even think Tom Waits could make out such lyrics sound cool.

That said, I couldn't help but worry when I realized the first cut on Christa Couture's debut LP, "Fell Out Of Oz" references Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, and Dirty Dancing. Do you know how cool you have to be to deliver those kinds of lyrics? A hell of a lot cooler than Jewel, that's for sure.

Luckily, Couture is a hell of a lot cooler than Jewel. In fact, she is a hell of a lot cooler than most singer/songwriters out there. With her soft voice and smooth guitar playing, Couture delivers her masterful songs with an honesty and elegance that make me think of an edgy, oringinal artist who won't have to spin tales about sleeping in her car in order to get recognition. They make me think of no one but Christa Couture. And that's a good thing. - Vancouver 24 Hours


Couture claimed her space on stage, establishing an intimate connection with the audience in a "I'll tell you my secrets and you tell me yours" kind of way. Her stage banter was funny and endearing, also serving to segue the songs into one another fairly impressively. Her whispered confessions were stirring, but she's even better when she cranks up the volume and wails. It's hard to get a great deal of notice in this genre since it's overrun by hopefuls, but Couture's affability and earnest charm permeated her music and after seeing her live once, you'll want to see her again. - Chartattack


Fans of Ani DiFranco and Jill Barber will dig Vancouver-based Christa Couture's gentle, yet powerfully enunciated, spare folk strummings. The tracks are underpinned by muted strains of piano, strings and brushed drums, providing variations that keep the album from sounding repetitive (a problem with many poet-with-a-guitar albums). Lyrically, Couture veers between self-conscious diary entries, such as "Jennifer Grey," and striking storytelling, like on the slightly jarring "The Next Bed," which is based on her experiences as an adolescent cancer survivor. The deft guitar work and crystalline production values mark Couture as an emerging force who won't be buried under other performers of her ilk.
- Shannon Whibbs
- Chartattack


"Christa Couture’s set was a lesson in rapt attentiveness"
- Chris Whibbs - Exclaim!


Breathless and intimate, Couture caresses the microphone with coy lyrics that discuss the very nature of emotional closeness over spartan, live-off-the-floor arrangements for acoustic guitar, upright bass and brushy drums. Highlighs include the title track, "Scared, too" and the rather bombastic "London First".

Four out of Five stars
- TV Week


FELL OUT OF OZ

Christa Couture

Maximum

4 out of 5

Now normally I wouldn't like this sort of "Vancouver hippie lady" record very much, but something about the sustained daintiness of Christa Couture's singing moves me close.

Compared inaccurately and unfairly to angst-amplifier Tori Amos and the tribally tiresome Ani DiFranco, Couture's writing is entirely personal - given. But rather than approach the poetic restructuring of her experiences into song with heavy gorilla arms swinging onto the heads of perceived enemies, Couture walks mostly calmly through her departure from Edmonton, her kissing of girls and her fears with a wide-eyed and inviting tenderness.

Which is not to say that capturing a crazed genie in a bottle is a bad way to construct a song - "here we are now, entertain us ... a man needs a maid" and all that.

But what I don't like about DiFranco and sometimes Amos is the same thing that brought Metallica down so low, that uncomfortable feeling of sitting in on someone's therapy. That kind of creepy voyeurism that makes The Shining scary straight off - you're watching from a closet, and if you don't happen to jive immediately with whatever issues these singers have and they're screaming like baboons at you, it's time to change the radio station.

Couture certainly has issues - her heart's been broken by a girl, she lost a leg to cancer and she has a trail of dead relationships that litter the lyrics. But just her and her guitar makes an almost holy sound, especially as she tries to rationalize life-threatening disease within In the Next Bed.

"Yes, he woke up alone, went to reach for the phone, but he couldn't 'cause his arm's not here and she closes her eyes to the sound as he dies." Pretty heavy, but even more real.

More than anything, I've enjoyed getting to know Couture here. I like her a lot, especially when she riffs off Leonard Cohen and - this is weird - Patrick Swayze.

- Edmonton Sun


"Christa Couture’s set was a lesson in rapt attentiveness"
- Chris Whibbs - Exclaim!


Singer/songwriter/acoustic guitarist Christa Couture will be a new name to most, but could be the next Canuck to enjoy the success of Sarah Harmer or Kathleen Edwards. Christa's material creates a consistent, bewitching mood with the closely-mic'ed, whispery delivery of Jewel and the lyrical meter of Tori Amos. She's also compared to Ani Difranco because she sings about relationships and kissing girls (and that's hot in a toasty warm acoustic kind of way). The production of this debut full-length release oozes Canadiana (read the atmospherics of a Daniel Lanois job) and will surely connect with fans of such intimate acoustic/post-folk music.
- Chris Twomey - Tandem, Toronto


Sprites, girl-liking-girls, and those who wear DiFranco and Tori Amos T-shirts – this is the audience of Vancouver’s Christa Couture, a candour-bent singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist who enjoys summers, but with one eye on the fall. The record, her debut long player, is intimate enough that whiffs of Couture’s organic soap are caught. Youth slips away on opening track “Jennifer Grey”, where a whispery and occasionally skittish voice lets listeners in on dreams. There is the tender, cello’d “Habitual”, where a lover awakes and exits, trying not to trip on all those “no strings”. The escalating “Sundries Like Mondays”, has Couture hiding and covering her ears, but she’s no shrinker. As a girl she lost a leg to cancer, and e hear about it on “The Next Bed”. A woman’s choices are considered on “For Miette (Circuitry)”. Thoughtful and graceful stuff comes from Couture. Oz’ loss is our gain.
- Brad Wheeler
- Globe and Mail, Jan 20/06


There's nothing wrong with the songwriting-as-diary-scribbling line of folk angst, as reflexively as some of us shrink from it, it's been around in one form or another at least since Laura Nyro or Joni Mitchell, and we can all agree that Blue was a good thing, right? Taken to extremes, it gave us Alanis Morrissette (via Ani DiFranco), and that was a bad thing, but we don't blame DiFranco for that, just as we can't hold Mitchell responsible for Jewel. The breathy, heart-on-sleeve vocal style that automatically locks Couture into the Ani Difranco/Alanis Morrissette axis gets the automatic alarm bells ringing, but fortunately she's more than just a half-assed clone. She's a songwriter, or even better, a craftsman - something that often gets overlooked in a world where anyone with a pretty voice and a competent finger picking style gets a requisite pat on the back and critical plaudits. Great sense of humour, too - in between getting her heart broken or detailing a bout with cancer (The Next Bed for scarifying hospital stays - it's no TB Sheets, but close) check out the references to Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey on - wait for it - Jennifer Grey.

- Tom Murray - Penguin Eggs


Singer/songwriter/acoustic guitarist Christa Couture will be a new name to most, but could be the next Canuck to enjoy the success of Sarah Harmer or Kathleen Edwards. Christa's material creates a consistent, bewitching mood with the closely-mic'ed, whispery delivery of Jewel and the lyrical meter of Tori Amos. She's also compared to Ani Difranco because she sings about relationships and kissing girls (and that's hot in a toasty warm acoustic kind of way). The production of this debut full-length release oozes Canadiana (read the atmospherics of a Daniel Lanois job) and will surely connect with fans of such intimate acoustic/post-folk music.
- Chris Twomey - Tandem, Toronto


This is one lady who has known pain. With her gorgeously intimate voice—somewhere between the tough vulnerability of Amy Rigby and the passionate, sophisticated folk of Joni Mitchell—Christa Couture sings with heart-on-sleeve intensity about the suffering and loss she has faced in her life. After dealing with issues such as the brutal experience of losing a leg to cancer ("The Next Bed") on her debut album, Fell Out of OZ, the Vancouver-based songwriter now takes the opportunity to explore through cathartic lyrical poems the happiness of falling in love and the devastating grief of her infant son’s death. It’s truly remarkable that listening to The Wedding Singer and the Undertaker does not feel like the aural equivalent of ambulance chasing. This is down to Couture’s writerly, at times even playful, skill with words as well as the uplifting production, once again by Futcher (Be Good Tanyas), who embellishes these fraught missives with billowing string and horn arrangements, tub-thumpimg stand-up bass and Couture’s crystaline piano and acoustic-guitar playing. Nevertheless, if you can hold back the tears whilst listening to “A Grief as This”, as a sweet trumpet blows to the heavens, you’re a better man than this reviewer. - Pop Matters


This is one lady who has known pain. With her gorgeously intimate voice—somewhere between the tough vulnerability of Amy Rigby and the passionate, sophisticated folk of Joni Mitchell—Christa Couture sings with heart-on-sleeve intensity about the suffering and loss she has faced in her life. After dealing with issues such as the brutal experience of losing a leg to cancer ("The Next Bed") on her debut album, Fell Out of OZ, the Vancouver-based songwriter now takes the opportunity to explore through cathartic lyrical poems the happiness of falling in love and the devastating grief of her infant son’s death. It’s truly remarkable that listening to The Wedding Singer and the Undertaker does not feel like the aural equivalent of ambulance chasing. This is down to Couture’s writerly, at times even playful, skill with words as well as the uplifting production, once again by Futcher (Be Good Tanyas), who embellishes these fraught missives with billowing string and horn arrangements, tub-thumpimg stand-up bass and Couture’s crystaline piano and acoustic-guitar playing. Nevertheless, if you can hold back the tears whilst listening to “A Grief as This”, as a sweet trumpet blows to the heavens, you’re a better man than this reviewer. - Pop Matters


Discography

LP: The Living Record (Sep/2012)

EP: Lost (Jun/2011)

EP: Loved (Jun/2011)

LP: The Wedding Singer & The Undertaker (May/2008)

LP: Fell Out of Oz (Dec/2005)

EP: Starter (Sep/2002)

Photos

Bio

For CURRENT GIG LISTINGS: christacouture.com/shows.
For VIDEO: youtube.com/christacouture.

After a spring highlighted by debut tours of Germany, the UK and the Netherlands and top ratings from the British music press, Christa Couture is back on home turf this fall, following up last autumns extremely successful launch tour for The Living Record.
The Steve Dawson-produced album had already made best-of-2012 lists at CBC Music, The Georgia Straight, and Torontos Radio Regent. This year, it scored a four-star review from the UKs Maverick Magazine, which praised Christas impressive songwriting, her ability to mould her voice to suit a range of musical styles, and her skill at carrying listeners through a vast array of emotions. Lonesome Highway said the CD ranks as my favourite listen of the year so far.
The Living Record is a one-of-a-kind album overflowing with a colossal range of tempos and textures, giving voice to the immense spectrum of emotions one experiences while soldiering on through grief.
Christa is an adolescent cancer survivor who wrote the album in the aftermath of unimaginable tragedy in a span of four years her two young sons died under separate circumstances. She sings about fleeting moments of happiness, joyful recollections of past travels and romances, how to pick up the pieces after everything has fallen apart and of course, the what ifs the memories she will never share with her sons, and the lasting impression left by those who are gone.
Her voice sweet and slightly quirky, like those of Jane Siberry and Regina Spektor weaves itself through sonic landscapes that vary from delicate acoustic folk to cabaret to edgy indie folk-pop.

About Christa
Christa grew up in Edmonton with a mother who sang in a folk trio and a father who performed First Nations ceremonial music. She sang in choirs and performed in musical theatre, and then moved to Vancouver to study at Vancouver Film School. She worked in film and television for about a decade before returning to music and releasing Fell out of Oz in 2005. The album earned four stars from both TV Week and The Edmonton Sun, who wrote, her and her guitar makes an almost unholy sound.
Ozs follow-up, The Wedding Singer and the Undertaker, won a 2008 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for Best Folk Acoustic Album, and Couture was nominated for Best Female Artist. The album was Top 10 at CBC Radio 3 and went to #1 on the National Aboriginal Music Countdown. PopMatters praised her Georgeously intimate voice somewhere between the tough vulnerability of Amy Rigby and the passionate, sophisticated folk of Joni Mitchell.
Of the albums devastating inspiration, PopMatters wrote, Its truly remarkable that listening to The Wedding Singer and the Undertaker does not feel like the aural equivalent of ambulance chasing. This is down to Coutures writerly, at times even playful, skill with words, as well as uplifting production.